Book,- R 7£&_
Wit and Humor for
WILL H. BROWN
Author of "The Call of Service/' "The Legacy
of the Golden Key," "Illustrative Inci-
dents for Public Speakers, ' ' etc.
The Standard Publishing Company
The Standard Publishing Company
FEB 10 1917
To Optimists Everywhere
of Every Race and Greed
The Place and Purpose of Wit and Humor; Strength in
Variety; Point of Contact, Basis of Humor, "Good
Medicine," Etc 7
Pithy Points . . .
: For Cross-references see Page 327.
PLACE AND PURPOSE OF WIT AND HUMOR.
The speaker who knows how to rightly use stories is to be
congratulated. Humorous incidents, well related and aptly ap-
plied, immediately catch the attention of practically every hearer,
and may be made to serve as "memory hooks" on which to hang
the most important points presented. It is human nature to be
attracted by that which pleases us, and by remembering some-
thing that has brought us laughter we easily recall that which
it was used to illustrate.
If, however, stories do not actually illustrate a point, it is
better to leave them untold — unless it be on an occasion of gen-
eral merriment, when there is a round of story-telling simply
for the sake of good cheer.
But for the speaker to go out of the way of his theme, for
no apparent purpose except to bring in jokes, is inexcusable. The
friends of an evangelist who was conducting meetings in a cer-
tain city, made arrangements with officers of the Young Men's
Christian Association to have him address a large number of
high-school boys in the association building. The idea was com-
mendable, and the opportunity one that any lover of young man-
hood might prize.
But this evangelist evidently thought he must make an effort
to amuse the students, as the line of his talk of perhaps half
an hour in length was an apparent effort to tell funny stories,
brought in with but little regard for any point they were sup-
posed to illustrate. The result was he gave his hearers but little,
if anything, helpful to retain. A rare opportunity was wasted.
Too often is this true of the speaker who mistakes the place
and purpose of the humorous story. If "brevity is the soul of
wit," so is it the soul of humor. A little is better than a great
deal. Hazlitt says: "Wit is the salt of conversation, not the
food." In other words, wit and humor should be used as "sea-
soning" for an address.
STRENGTH IN VARIETY.
Every person who speaks in public, whether it be in a young
people's society, a lodge, a club, or a speaker on the rostrum,
should make it a rule to express his thoughts in a clear, forceful
manner, buttressed by such illustrations, humorous or otherwise,
as will aid in attaining this purpose. One writer has said: "A
speech, being a matter of adaptation, and having to win opin-
ions, should contain a little for the few and a great deal for the
In most audiences are a few whose interest could be held by a
statistical line of argument, and a few who would be satisfied
with a lot of humorous stories, but the many — the great bulk of
the hearers — appreciate a simple, common-sense presentation of
facts, reasonably interspersed with wit and humor.
Cowper says : "Variety is the spice of life that gives it all its
flavor." There may be refreshing variety in the manner of
making almost any speech of any length. Facts, quotations,
comparisons, poems, humorous touches here and there, may all
be grouped around the theme in a most interesting and helpful
La Rochefoucauld expressed the opinion that "a man does
not please long when he has only one species of wit." A hobby
is usually tiresome to every one except its possessor, but even this
may be made more interesting by riding it in a number of differ-
ent ways. The good, clean story is the one biggest help in afford-
ing a pleasing variety.
Next in importance to obtaining appropriate stories, such as
clearly connect with the subject, is the ability to tell them well.
Dr. Charles S. Baldwin, assistant professor of rhetoric in Yale
University, in writing on "How to Tell a Story," says :
"Story-telling is the oldest and the most popular of all the
arts. An art it is, for some people do it much better than others,
and many have improved in it by practice."
Those who wish to become good story-tellers should carefully
observe how stories are told by those who are considered suc-
cessful in this line. When it comes to personality, however, al-
ways be yourself. Never attempt to imitate another's style. One
common error with many is to give too much detail, or attempt
to explain a point that is perfectly clear. If it is not clear, it is
not a good story to use. If it does not apply without being ex-
plained, it will add no strength to the speech. The ideal story
told in an ideal way is like the using of a fuse. It leads to a
climax — an explosion. Neither comment nor explanation is
A POINT OF CONTACT.
The first thing a speaker should be sure of is that his audi-
ence is in a receptive humor. If something has happened to
beget any other state of mind — a delay, a long, tiresome intro-
duction, a disappointment of any kind — he has just the place
for at least one good story. A hearty laugh produces an imme-
diate psychological effect, frequently changing the whole atmos-
phere of an occasion from one of dissatisfaction to one of
pleasant anticipation, thus preparing even prejudiced persons for
the reception and impartial consideration of what may be said.
The well-timed story often affords the necessary point of contact.
Some one has spoken of laughter as the sunshine of the soul,
the leaven of youth, the echo of innocence, the treasure of the
humble, the wealth of the poor; banishing blues, destroying de-
pression, and the enemy of grief. It is what kings envy peasants ;
what plutocrats envy the poor. Laughter is the language of the
happy heart. Truly, no speaker should be indifferent to the wise
use of such a power to touch human lives,
"Laugh and grow fat," has often been spoken. Dr. Wolcott
"Care to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt,
And every grin, so merry, draws one out."
Richter wrote : "Cheerfulness is the atmosphere under which
all things thrive/'
Shakespeare's words, "They laugh that win," may well be re-
versed — "They win that laugh." It is a true proverb that "he who
laughs oftenest lives longest."
During the trying days of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln
once read to his Cabinet a chapter from a book by Artemus
Ward, at which he himself laughed heartily, but not one member
of his Cabinet followed suit. He then read another chapter, with
not even a smiling response. Turning suddenly, he said :
"Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain
that is upon me night and day, if I do not laugh I shall die, and
you need this medicine as much as I do."
Then he submitted to them for consideration a paper on a
very important phase of the war.
Lincoln often told stories, and was quick to see a humorous
situation. Just before he began his immortal address at Gettys-
burg an old woman fainted in the crowd that jammed all around
the platform. At his request she was handed up to him, and he
placed her in his seat. When she regained consciousness she was
greatly embarrassed to find that she was being fanned by the
President of the United States in the presence of thousands of
people, and begged that she be put back down in the crowd. But
Lincoln would not have it so. With his unfailing kindness he
laughed and said:
"No, no, indeed. You are all right up here. It was all we
could do to pull you out of that crowd, and we could never stick
you down into it again."
As Lincoln felt the need of the tonic of laughter, in order to
do his work, so do many thousands of others need this same thing
in their lives. Anna B. Bryant expresses it thus in one of
her poems :
"A laugh can lighten the heaviest load;
A laugh can shorten the longest road;
Eyes serene and a sunny face
Are ever and always signs of grace.
The trusting heart that laughs and sings
Soars like a bird that has found its wings."
Dr. Frank Crane says : ''To laugh is probably the best medicine
ever discovered. One hearty laugh is better than a wagon-load
of roots and herbs. Laughter is nature's defense against the
world's burden. By laughter a man shakes off his pack, for a few
minutes at least, and capers like a loose colt in the pasture.
When he returns and is saddled again he is refreshed, is stronger.
One cf the best laugh-makers is the good story."
Beecher says: "Laughing is as divine as crying, and joy will
remain after tears have been swept out of the universe." On one
occasion, when Spurgeon and the Rev. Dr. Theodore Cuyler were
together, they knelt at the suggestion of the former and thanked
God for laughter.
Richard Porson wrote : "Wit is in general the finest sense in
the world. I had lived long before I discovered that wit was
Oliver Wendell Holmes has given us this choice bit of verse
"You hear that boy laughing?
You think he's all fun;
But the angels laugh, too,
At the good he has done."
Holmes has also said: "A rogue alive to the ridiculous is still
convertible. If that sense is lost, his fellow-men can do little
Ninon de L'Enclos believed that "the joy of the mind marks
BASIS OF HUMOR.
We occasionally hear it said of an individual: "He likes to
laugh at others, but can never take a joke on himself." As most
of the things that appear funny to us are the embarrassing or
disconcerting situations of others, we should cultivate the habit
of submitting cheerfully when they have an opportunity to laugh
at us. Some one has described a sense of humor as "that which
makes you laugh at something that happens to somebody else,
which would make you angry if it happened to you."
Julius Hare has left us this view of the subject: "Nobody who
is afraid of laughing, and heartily, at his friend, can be said to
have a true and thorough love for him ; and, on the other hand,
it would betray a sorry want of faith to distrust a friend because
he laughs at you. Few men, I believe, are much worth loving,
in whom there is not something well worth laughing at."
Mildred Stewart gives expression to a good sentiment in the
New York Sun, as follows :
"Joke with him who jostles you,
Smile on him who hurries you,
Laugh at him who pushes you —
It doesn't cost a cent.
"Don't be carrying round that chip.
Wink your eye and curve your lip,
And from life's sunshine take a sip —
It doesn't cost a cent."
As each individual should strive to overcome sensitiveness,
so also should all get away from a feeling of sensitiveness in
regard to jokes caricaturing the race to which they belong. As
there are individual characteristics that make a person interest-
ing, so are there national characteristics that make members of
the different races interesting.
Not many years ago the suggestion was made in all sincerity
that a movement be launched to discontinue the publication of
jokes on persons of a certain race, and in the brogue of that
race. Of course it was never taken seriously by enough persons
to give it birth.
There is one point, however, at which every public speaker
should use care, and that is, never relate a story that would re-
flect discredit upon an individual or a race. When clean, unob-
jectionable stories that bear upon the subject can not be found,
use none. Gen. U. S. Grant, twice President of the United
States, made it a rule never to tell nor listen to a story that could
not be told in the presence of ladies.
But some speakers, desiring stories of the right kind, find
themselves in the position described by Pope:
"You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come ;
Knock as you please, there's nobody at home."
For the ready and convenient use of these and other speakers,
as well as for all who love good, wholesome humor, has this
collection of more than one thousand stories, covering a wide
range of subjects, been prepared. In addition to the index of
the themes under which the many incidents have been grouped,
is given a cross-reference index, as nearly every story is appli-
cable to more than one subject. It is the exception and not the
rule when an incident hasn't "two sides to it," and frequently it
carries at least two opposing ideas. It is this that often makes a
situation appear laughable.
Woes cluster; rare are solitary woes;
They love a train; they tread each other's heel. — Dr. E. Young.
"Want a job, eh?"
"Yes, sir. I'm looking for a place where there's plenty of
"I'm sorry, but there isn't enough here to keep you busy more
than an hour or two a day."
"Well, that's plenty for me, thank you, sir."
DIDN'T CARE FOR A SURPLUS.
"Say, Mr. Johnsing," commented Rastus, looking up from the
paper he was reading, "it says heah dat in Sumatra a man kin buy
a wife for foah dollahs."
"Foah dollahs!" gasped Johnsing; "if a niggah's got foah
dollahs, why, man, he doan' need no wife."
BREWER OUGHT TO KNOW.
A well-known English brewer and a friend were dining in a
grill-room, when suddenly a very dapper-looking man, with sus-
piciously red nose, brushed by their table.
"A very prominent member of the Early Closing Society,"
said the brewer, quietly.
The friend showed a keen interest, and inquired:
"What is his official capacity?"
"About three gallons, I should judge," said the brewer.
J6 WIT AND HUMOR
A tradesman in a certain town put a box outside his shop,
labeled, "For the Blind." A few weeks later the box disappeared.
"Hello! What's happened to the box for the blind?" he was
asked by a friend.
"Oh, I got enough money," he replied, pointing up to the new
canvas blind that sheltered his shop window; "not bad, is it?"
THE BISHOP'S OPINION.
While presiding over a conference, a speaker began a tirade
against universities and education, expressing thankfulness that
he had never been corrupted by contact with a college. After
proceeding for a few minutes, the bishop interrupted him with the
"Do I understand that Mr. Pitts is thankful for his ignorance?"
"Well, yes," was the answer, "you can put it that way, if you
"All I have to say, then," continued the presiding officer in
sweet and musical tones, "is that Mr. Pitts has much for which
to be thankful."
TOO SOON TO ANSWER.
When Compton arrived in a strange city and learned that it
had been raining there for some time, he bought an umbrella,
observing that nearly every one else seemed to keep going, despite
the rain. Wearying of the downpour after several days, he
stopped a man on the street and remarked:
"Beastly weather, seems to me. Has it been raining here
"Can't say exactly. You see, I have only lived here a little
over a year," was the disgusted reply.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 17
To be commended by those who might blame without fear gives great
pleasure. — Angesilaus.
WILLING TO DIVIDE.
"Yes," said the eminent specialist to the poor man who had
called upon him, "I will examine you carefully for ten dollars."
"All right, Doc," said the man, resignedly, "and if you find it
I'll give you half."
IMITATING HIS SENIORS.
Lady caller at the door: "I saw an advertisement of your
rooms to let. Have you any rats or mice here?"
Young hopeful, who answered the door-bell for his busy
mother : "No, but I think we could get you some."
ACCORDING TO DEMAND.
"I hope you are habitually truthful, Nora," said Mrs. Falcom
to her new maid.
"Yes'm, on me own account I alius is, mum. I only tells lies
to the callers for the family," was the withering reply.
HIS JOB COULD WAIT.
While a reporter was telephoning his story from Sing Sing
on the occasion of the execution of a noted prisoner, a convict
hammering on the floor made it hard for the reporter to use the
"Would you mind stopping for a few minutes?" the reporter
asked in a kindly tone.
]8 WIT AND HUMOR
"Sure not, boss,", was the pleasant reply; "go to it. I've got
twenty years to finish this job."
It was a busy day in the butcher-shop.
"Hurry up, John," called the butcher to the boy who was help-
ing him, "and don't forget to cut off Mrs. Murphy's leg, and break
Mrs. Carding's bones, and slice Mrs. Hamilton's tongue. They're
all in a big rush."
DIDN'T SEE IT ALIKE.
"Out of work, you say?" said Mrs. Jenkins to a tramp at her
back door; "well, I've a cord of wood to be cut up, and was just
going to send for a man to do it."
"That so, mum?" quickly replied the tramp. "Tell me where
he lives, and I'll go get him for you."
BOTH MEANT WELL.
A very small man on a street-car made a polite offer of his
seat to a very large woman who was standing up.
"Thank you very much," she said, smiling down upon him as
she turned toward the seat, then with a puzzled look added : "But
where did you get up from?"
"ONE GOOD TURN."
"Ten years ago I landed here broke," said a stranger to a
prominent citizen of the town. "I struck you for a dollar, and
you gave it to me, saying you never turned down a request like
"Yes?" queried the citizen, eagerly; but he got an awful shock
when the stranger continued:
"Well, are you still game?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 19
READY TO OBLIGE.
Pat was walking through a wood one hot day, and stopped
to rest on a log. He heard the leaves rustle behind him, and
looked around, when he beheld a big bear sniffling his tracks.
"Ah, ye old rascal," cried Pat, "if it's tracks ye want, I'll
make yez a plenty av thim !"
MERELY GOOD MANNERS.
A gentleman who was seated behind a negro in a street-car
in Memphis relates this incident : All seats were taken, when a
young negress entered. The negro arose and offered her his seat.
"I hates to deprive yo', sah," she said gratefully as she took it.
"Doan' mention it, miss; it ain't no depravity, I insure yo'."
SHOULDN'T EXPECT TOO MUCH.
"A man up-town telephones for an officer at once ; says there's
a burglar in the house."
"Let me see," said the police captain, reflectively, "four men
are out censoring plays, two inspecting gowns at a society func-
tion, and two more supervising a tango tea. Tell him I can send
him an officer in about an hour and a half — that's the best
I can do."
"Maggie," said the mistress to the new servant during the
dinner hour, "will you go down to the basement and get the
A few minutes later the family heard a great shooing and
scampering of feet. Shortly after, Maggie came breathlessly into
the dining-room and said to her astonished mistress:
"Well, they're up, mum."
"What are up?"
"The cats, mum."
20 WIT AND HUMOR
OFFERED HIS SHARE.
She weighed close to three hundred pounds, and, as she stood
and swayed with the movement of the car, she waxed sarcastic.
"If there were any gentlemen in this car," she said, "they
would not allow a lady to stand."
And then a little man got up from his seat with a sigh, re-
"Don't be cross, ma'am. I'll be one of three toward it."
HOW THE JUDGE TOOK IT.
"I wish to be excused," said the worried-looking juryman, ad-
dressing the judge. "I owe a man some money, and as he is to
leave to-day for England to be gone some years, I want to catch
him before he gets to the boat and pay him."
"You are excused," said the judge in icy tones; "I don't want
any one on the jury who can lie like that."
A FRIEND IN NEED.
Bridget left Ireland with an excellent letter of recommendation
from her last mistress, but on the way over the letter fell into the
sea. Not knowing how to find work without it, she appealed to a
friend, and he gave her the following :
"To the General Public: Bridget Flaherty had a good repu-
tation when she left Ireland, but lost it on the way over."
JUST A LITTLE DARKER.
The grocer had put a new boy to work, and among other in-
structions was this:
"If we do not happen to have what a customer asks for, sug-
gest something else as nearly like it as possible."
Soon a woman came into the store and asked the boy:
"Have you any fresh green stuff to-day?"
"No, ma'am," he replied, "but we have some nice blueing."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 2[
MIGHT HAVE KNOWN IT.
Residing in a little village was a lawyer who was famous for
drawing up wills, in which he had long enjoyed a monopoly of
the country for miles around. When a wealthy man died, there
was much speculation as to the value of the property, and the
town gossip set about to find out. He hunted up the lawyer, and,
after a few preliminary remarks about the deceased, said rather
"I understand you made his will. Would you mind telling
me how much he left?"
"Not at all," answered the attorney, resuming his writing ; "he
left everything he had."
HAD HELPED A WORSE CASE.
During an Episcopal convention in Boston, according to the
Homiletic Review, one of the bishops had an experience he will
long remember. He was a portly man, weighing over three hun-
dred pounds. One afternoon while walking through Boston Com-
mon he sat down on one of the low benches to rest. When he
attempted to get up, he failed in the effort. He tried again and
failed. About this time a little girl, poorly dressed, came along
and was attracted by the struggles of the bishop. Stepping up to
him, she asked:
"Don't you want me to give you a lift?"
The bishop gazed at her in amazement and said:
"Why, you can't help me. You are too little."
"Oh, no, I'm not," she replied confidently. "I have helped my
pa get up many times when he was drunker than you are."
22 WIT AND HUMOR
It is a way of calling a man a fool when no heed is given to what
he says. — Pythagoras.
GOT HIS FATHER'S GOAT.
One day after the razor-strop had been used on Willie, his
mother found him fondling a goat for which he usually professed
"Why, darling, it's nice to see you so kind to poor Billy," she
Over the boy's face came a look of gratitude as he gave the
wondering goat another carrot.
"He butted father into the pond this morning," murmured the
little chap, patting his four-footed friend affectionately.
AS THE SON SAW IT.
"My boy," said the millionaire, lecturing his son on the im-
portance of economy, "when I was your age I carried water for
a gang of bricklayers,"
"I'm proud of you, father." answered his offspring; "if it
hadn't been for your pluck and perseverance, I might have had to
do something of that sort myself."
GRATEFUL FOR WHAT?
He is discreet who says neither too little nor too much. At a
business meeting the chairman announced:
"Brother Skinner tenders his resignation as a member of this
body. What action shall be taken upon it?"
"I move, sir," said one of the members, "that the resignation
be accepted, with a vote of thanks to Brother Skinner."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS
AFTER MANY YEARS.
He had worked forty-two years for a corporation and decided
to retire. In appreciation of his long and faithful service the
company arranged to give him a sum of money, and asked the
German foreman to present it, with a little speech. Accordingly
the foreman said to him :
"You haff vorked for dis gompany more ash forty years, und
you vos going to kvit?"
"Veil, de gompany vos so glad dey asked me to hand you dis
PLAN TO RECIPROCATE.
"Well, what can I do for you, Elijah?" asked Brown as the
colored waiter who usually served him at the restaurant entered
"I got a chance to change mah p'sition, boss. Kin yo' say
a good word fo' me? Say I'se hones' an' sich?"
"I know you, of course, and that you're a good waiter, but
how do I know you're honest?"
"Well, jes' say yo' think I'se hones'— dat'll do."
"All right, Elijah; anything to oblige you."
"Thank yo', boss, thank yo'. When yo' comes ovah any time
be suah to sit at mah table. I'll give yo' a sho't check."
WHY HE VOLUNTEERED.
"You're shoestring's untied, ma'am," said a small boy to a
stout woman who moved majestically up the street. "I'll tie it
for you, if you wish."
Even a more haughty woman would have found it difficult to
refuse such a kind offer, and she drew back her skirt in acceptance
of his attention. The boy pulled the string tight and smiled up
at her as he said :
"My mother's fat too."
24 WIT AND HUMOR
Better be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion. — Mexican
TOLD THE TRUTH.
The captain, says a German paper, was questioning his men:
"Which of you fellows can swim?"
"I can, Captain," spoke up one soldier.
"Good! Where did you learn?"
"Why-er, in the water, sir !" replied the man.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING.
The tailor's sign in a small inland town was an apple, which
very much amazed the people at first. They came in large num-
bers to the tailor asking the meaning of such an odd sign. With
a complacent smile he replied:
"If it hadn't been for an apple, where would the clothing busi-
ness be to-day?"
FULL SPEED AHEAD.
Kenneth was very slow, so his parents had apprenticed him to
a naturalist. But even he found the boy slow. One good point,
however, about the boy was that he was willing-hearted. One day,
after having spent a long time in changing the water for the
. goldfish, he asked :
"What shall I do now?"
The naturalist ran his fingers through his hair as if perplexed,
and at length replied:
"Well, Kenneth, I think you might take the tortoise out for
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 25
BELIEVED IN BALANCING.
It was Arthur's first visit to the zoo.
"What did you think of the animals?" inquired Uncle Frank
after the return home.
"Seems to me," said the boy, thoughtfully, "that the kangaroo
and the elephant ought to trade tails."
RIGHT IN HIS LINE.
Mrs. Timkins was taking her son to school for the first time,
and, after impressing the schoolmaster with the necessity of his
having a thorough education, finished by saying:
"And be sure he learns Latin."
"But, my dear madam," said the instructor, "Latin is a dead
"That's all right," said the woman, knowingly; "he'll want it,
for he's going to be an undertaker."
FARM-HAND WAS OBSERVING.
A Scottish farmer one day called to a farm-hand :
"Here, Tarn, gang roon and gie the coos a cabbage each, but
min' ye gie the biggest ta the coo that gies the maist milk."
The boy departed to do his bidding, and on his return the
farmer asked if he had done as he was told.
"Aye, maister," replied the lad, "I gied 'em a cabbage each,
and hung the biggest een on the pump handle."
The attorney for a gas company was making a popular address.
"Think of the good this company has done!" he cried. "If 1
were permitted a pun, I would say, in the words of the immortal
poet, 'Honor the Light Brigade !' "
Whereupon a shrill voice called out from the rear :
"Oh, what a charge they made !"
26 WIT AND HUMOR
CAME WHEN CALLED.
A bunch of conscripts was to be examined by a French army
doctor. After seeing that everything was in readiness in the
room, he called out to the soldier attendant :
"Send in the first man."
The attendant shouted : "Adam !" Sure enough, in walked a
man by that name, and who happened to be the first on the list.
DIDN'T LIKE THE NAME.
"That Mrs. Doak is getting too smart," growled the butcher.
"What's the matter now?" inquired his wife.
"Why, when she came in to-day to buy a little piece of meat
she told me I ought to give my scales a new name, and call them
'Ambuscade.' I've just looked up the word," he went on furi-
ously, "and the dictionary says that ambuscade means to 'lie in
ACCORDING TO CIRCUMSTANCES.
A London paper tells of one young man who calls his sweet-
heart Revenge, because she is sweet; of a young married man
who calls his mother-in-law Delay, because she is dangerous;
of a Bradford man who calls his wife Fact, because she is a
stubborn thing; the wife of an attorney who calls him Necessity,
because he knows no law ; a Manchester man who calls his wife
Sluggard, because every once in awhile she gets mad when he
stays late to lodge, and goes to see her aunt; of a Newcastle
man who calls his wife Enough, because she is as good as a feast.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 27
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comforts will do no more
for us than a golden slipper for a gouty foot. — John Bunyan.
The professor, upon returning home late at night, heard a
noise, and asked :
"Is some one there?"
"No," came the answer from a burglar under the bed.
"That's strange," mused the professor. "I was positive some
one was under my bed."
THE KIND IN DEMAND.
A boy walked into a merchant's office in search of a situation.
After answering a number of questions put to him by the man
in charge, he was asked :
"Well, my boy, what is your motto?"
"The same as yours," he replied; "same as you have on your
door — Push."
He was engaged.
SHE BELIEVED HIM.
They had been married several years, when one night she said
to him in an impressive way:
"John, you do not speak as affectionately to me as you used
to when we were first married. I fear you do not love me as
much as you did."
"There you go again !" growled the man. "Why, I love you
more than life itself. Now shut up and let me read the paper
28 WIT AND HUMOR
WILLING TO TRY.
A boy had called where he was informed there was a possible
chance to get a job, and was greeted gruffly by the proprietor,
who bluntly asked him :
"Do you ever tell lies ?"
"No, but I think I could learn," the lad replied hopefully.
JUST THE SAME.
Fifty million dollars was his fortune when he died ;
Fifty million cold ones on the morning when he went.
Yes, he left it all behind him, and it can not be denied
That he's just as dead to-day as if he hadn't left a cent.
MUST GO TOGETHER.
"I tell you, Pat, my boy," the big man of the town confided,
laying a patronizing hand on the young Irishman's shoulder, "I
wish I had your tongue."
"Sure, sor," grinned Pat, "but it would do yez no good without
A SENSE OF DIRECTION.
A new recruit, placed on guard for the first time, about
midnight observed a shadowy form approaching from the dis-
tance. Following his instructions, he called out:
"Halt! Who goes there ?"
"Shut up!" a husky voice replied; "I ain't going; I'm coming
SURE OF IT FOR ONCE.
Cobbledick was noted for his forgetfulness. One night he got
up to take a cough-drop, and swallowed his collar-button instead.
With much arx^ety he told his wife what he had done.
"Don't worry," said she; "for once in your life you know
where you put it."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 29
HUSBAND TO THE RESCUE.
"What are you so furious about, wife?" asked the husband
when she came in from talking to a neighbor over the back fence.
"Mrs. Hemstead just called me an old cat, so she did!" was
the snappy reply.
"But you're not old, dear, so don't worry," said the husband,
PROUD OF THEM.
"Have yez y ancisters, Mrs. Kelly ?" asked Mrs. O'Tc
"And phwa s Ally.
"People ye si
"Mrs. O'Tock, will yez iisten to me ! Oi come from the rale
stock of Donagans, that shpring from nobody — we shpring at
NO DOUBT OF IT.
The owner of a powder-mill had hastened home to investigate
the cause of a serious explosion, and was told by the foreman
that a man named Bill Gregory had gone into the mixing-room,
probably thinking of something else, and struck a match by mis-
"Struck a match?" said the proprietor in amazement; "I should
think that would have been the last thing on earth he'd do."
"It was, sir," the foreman calmly replied. \K
AT BOTH ENDS OF A VISIT.
"I told you last Sunday," said the teacher, "that you should
all try to make some one happy during the week. How many of
you did so?"
"I did !" gleefully answered one of the boys.
"That's nice, Sammy. What did you do?"
"I went to see my Aunt Mattie, and she's always happy when
I go home."
30 WIT AND HUMOR
MADE HER MEANING CLEAR.
An English professor, traveling through the hills, sought pro-
visions at a mountain hut.
"What do you all want?" called out a woman.
"Madam," said the professor, "can we get corn bread here?"
"Corn bread? Corn bread, do yo' say?"
Then she c If and 1 -~- manner became very
amiable as she went on :
HAD THE PROOF.
They were having a heated political convention in Kansas, as
the story goes, and two men from rival delegations got into a
serious personal dispute.
"You're crazy!" shouted one.
"I'm not !" retorted the other. "I can prove I'm not crazy, and
that's more than you can do."
"Let's see you prove it, then."
Whereupon the accused man drew from an inside pocket his
discharge papers from an insane asylum.
MORE THAN HE WANTED.
Mrs. Dressier, her three-year-old son and his nurse were on a
train, the mother seated just ahead of the other two. A wasp
flew in and lit near the nurse. Immediately the boy, who was
used to having his own way most of the time, shrieked:
"I want it ! I want it !"
The nurse protested, whereupon the mother, without looking
"Mary, don't tease that child. Let him have what he wants."
Thus encouraged, the boy clutched vigorously at the wasp and
caught it. The yell that followed was heard all through the car,
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 31
while the passengers beamed with joy. Once more the mother
called out authoritatively :
"Mary, let him have it, I say !"
"He's got it, ma'am," was the demure reply, as the youngster's
cries of pain increased.
THE PALMIST'S BOOMERANG.
"I've just called to — "
"Certainly," interrupted the palmist, taking his hand ; "I know
all about it. I see you have met with various disappointments.
Something you have striven hard to get has eluded you time and
again, but your end will soon be attained. Success is certain."
"I am indeed glad to hear it," said he joyfully, bringing forth
a blue paper, "I've called five times to collect this gas bill, and am
pleased to hear you say I'm to get my money at last."
READY FOR BUSINESS.
# Boy Wanted," read a sign hanging outside of a store in
Chicago. Soon a boy walked in, taking down the sign and carry-
ing it to the proprietor.
"Why did you bring that in here?" asked the astonished man.
"You won't need it out there any more," said the boy, cheer-
fully; "I'm here ready to take the job."
You know what happened.
KISSES FOR ONLY ONE.
Mrs. Tomkinson's servant had been in the habit of going out
to meet the grocer's boy when he came to the back door with
goods. Observing this, Mrs. Tomkinson watched and saw the
boy kiss her. When the girl came in the mistress said severely :
"Nora, I saw the boy kiss you when you went out for the
groceries. After this I shall go myself."
"All right, mum," said Nora, undisturbed, "but it'll do yez
no good. He says he won't kiss nobody but me."
32 WIT AND HUMOR
"What is valuable is not new, and what is new is not valuable," said
Daniel Webster, in 1848. He had not heard of the automobile.
LOSS AND GAIN.
"Guess you've had plenty of rain in your section this season?'''
"Yes," said the farmer ; "hurt my crops too."
"Will you lose much money?"
"No, I calculate I'll break about even by haulin' automobiles
out of mudholes."
TIME FOR A CHANGE.
"The silly things — those Ingrahams!"
"Why, what's up now?"
"Didn't you hear of it? They've mortgaged their automobile
to buy a home."
ONE OF ITS TRAITS.
Explorer: "Yes, I have decided to make the final dash in an
Reporter: "And you think your chance of locating the Pole
is pretty good?"
Explorer : "Sure ! Why, man, if I get within fifty miles of
the thing, my machine will hit it."
DEPENDS ON THE SIZE.
"Doesn't it give you a terrible feeling to run over a man ?" in-
quired a friend.
"Well, if he's a large man," replied the automobile enthusiast,
"it does give one a pretty rough jolt."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 33
"What little boy can tell us the meaning of the expression, 'the
quick and the dead'?" asked the Sunday-school teacher.
Willie waved his hand frantically, and was told to proceed.
"Please, ma'am," he said, "the quick are the ones that get out
of the way of automobiles, and the dead are the ones that don't."
SPOKE FROM EXPERIENCE.
"What does autosuggestion mean?" asked Pringle.
"That's when your wife begins to figure out how much you
would save in car- fare, and all that, if you had your own
machine," replied Teggard, who had been worked just that way.
Wife: "Henry, why don't you stop? You ran over a man!"
Husband: "That's all right, dear. He's the one that guaran-
teed to teach me in two lessons how to run this car."
34 WIT AND HUMOR
From small profits and many expenses
Come a whole life of sad consequences. — Chinese Proverb.
GOT WHAT HE ASKED FOR.
"Now, then," said the auctioneer, holding up a pair of antique
silver candlesticks, "give me a start."
"Two bits !" came from a voice in the back of the room.
"What!" exclaimed the horrified auctioneer, "only two bits?"
"I thought that would give him a start," said the bidder in an
TOO MUCH FOR THE MONEY.
A one-gallus customer drifted into a country store in Arkansas
and asked for a nickel's worth of asafcetida. The clerk poured out
some in a paper bag and pushed it across the counter.
"Charge it," drawled the customer.
"What is the name, please?"
"Honeyfunklemeyer," was the reply.
"Take it," said the clerk; "I wouldn't write two such horn-
swoggled words as asafoetida and Honeyfunklemeyer for five
SUITED HIM ALL RIGHT.
A genial-looking man wanted an empty bottle in which to mix
a solution, and went to a chemist's. Selecting the one that an-
swered his purpose, he asked the price.
"Well, if you want the empty bottle," was the reply, "it will
be a nickel, but if you want anything in it you can have it for
"Sure, that's fair," said the caller, "you might put in a cork."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 35
A POSER FOR WALDING.
If Tommy doesn't develop into a Wall Street manipulator, it
won't be for lack of brilliant financial ideas. He liked young Mr.
Walding, who was calling regularly upon the little fellow's pretty
sister, and one evening, becoming quite chatty, asked him :
"Do you love sister Jenny?"
"Why do you ask?" was the dazed reply of the blushing young
"Because," was the prompt response, "she said t'other day she'd
give five dollars to know. If you tell me, I'll get the money, and
give you a dollar out of it."
GOOD MEASURE PROMISED.
Mrs. Benton was walking through the park when two ragged,
dirty little boys, playing near by, stopped her, and the older one
"Say, lady, me kid brother does some dandy imitation stunts.
Give him a dime and he'll imitate a chicken for youse."
"What will he do — crow?"
"Naw ! No cheap thing like that, lady. He'll eat a worm."
IT MADE A DIFFERENCE.
A lady, whose son was about to enter a university in another
city, was anxious that he should get good rooms in a first-class
boarding-house. Accordingly she went the rounds with him.
The landlady of one of the houses visited said :
' "I will let this excellent room on the second floor at reduced
rates, because there's a woman next door who plays the piano
"Oh," said the mother, "that won't trouble my son much — he's
"In that case, then," said the landlady, "I must charge him
the full price."
36 WIT AND HUMOR
NOT TO BE SILENCED.
"Dan," said the four-year-old, "give me a nickel to buy a pet
"We've got one monkey in the family already," replied the
older brother, mischievously.
"Who is it?" asked the little fellow.
"You, of course."
"Then please give me a nickel to buy the monkey some
The big brother could not resist this ingenious appeal.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 37
The cat and dog may kiss, yet are none the better friends. — Portuguese
THE RULING TRAIT.
Jean: "Why did you refuse Charley, if you really loved him,
as you say?"
Marie, sadly: "Well, you see, he said he couldn't live without
me, and it aroused my curiosity."
KEPT HIS WORD.
"Show me an Irishman and I'll show you a coward !" shouted
a man addressing a crowd.
"What did you say, friend?" asked a big son of the Emerald
Isle, stepping quickly forward.
The orator started and bit his lip, as he repeated the state-
ment he had made.
"I'm an Irishman !" promptly responded the big fellow, clench-
ing his fists.
"And I'm a coward," said the other meekly, as he turned and
HE KNEW HIS LIMIT.
"William !" she shouted in a voice fit to command a regiment,
"take your feet off the table this very instant !"
"Margaret," he said, in a voice of manly determination, "there
is but one person in the world I allow to talk to me that way."
"And who is that?" she thundered, as she arose and started
"Why, you, my dear," he said, gently, as he removed his feet
from the table.
38 WIT AND HUMOR
DIDN'T FAZE HIM.
"Will fasting make you thin ?" inquired his "intended."
"I don't think so. I lived on water five days last summer, and
didn't lose a pound."
"You did? How wonderful!"
"Yes ; from Liverpool to New York."
ON THE SAFE SIDE.
"My proudest boast," declared the lecturer, who expected his
statement to be greeted with enthusiastic cheers, "is that I was
one of the men behind the guns."
"How far behind?" came from a sarcastic voice in the gallery.
FOUND OUT SHE WAS IN.
"I was so disappointed to learn I was out the other day when
you called, Mrs. Winters."
"So was I. I felt sure I'd find you, for I saw you go in just
as I turned the corner."
A GAME TWO CAN PLAY.
The following exchange of courtesy was chronicled in a
German paper's advertising columns :
"The gentleman who found a brown purse, containing a sum
of money, in the Blumenstrasse, is requested to forward it to the
address of the loser, as he is recognized."
A couple of days later appeared the following in response :
"The recognized gentleman who picked up the brown purse
in the Blumenstrasse requests the loser to call at his house at a
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 39
He who pitches too high won't get through his song. — German Proverb*
AND THAT A MISTAKE.
"Auntie, did you ever get a proposal?" inquired the niece.
"Once, dear. A gentleman talking to me over the 'phone asked
me to marry him, but he had the wrong number."
AN EXPERIENCED LEADER.
In front of a city church was this announcement : "Christian
Endeavor meeting Sunday evening at 7:30. Subject: 'The Way
of the Transgressor.' The pastor will be the leader."
GAY TIMES AHEAD.
Wesley Kendig, who is employed in a moving-picture theater
in Sioux Falls, arrived Saturday to spend two weeks' vacation,
shooting and visiting his parents and friends. — Webster Reporter
PERHAPS THE TRUTH.
"Please don't bother to see me to the door," urged the depart-
ing visitor, who had remained a long time.
"Really, it's no bother at all." the hostess assured her; "it is
VERY FRANK, HE WAS.
The eccentric minister arose and cleared his throat, but re-
mained silent, while the congregation awaited the beginning of
the sermon in puzzled expectancy. At last he spoke.
"There's a fellow in the gallery hugging a young lady," he
said; "when he's done I'll begin."
40 WIT AND HUMOR
WHY "THE BOYS" LAUGHED.
''What was the joke about Captain Foote, that the boys are
all laughing at?"
"Why, the major's wife said she'd be glad of his company at
her home Wednesday evening, and the dunce took his whole
An Irish surveyor, attached to a district which had suffered
severely from floods, posted this in a village which lay in the
valley: "Notice is hereby given that when this board is under
water the road ahead is impassable." — London Standard.
The following notice appeared in a Minnesota paper, says the
New York Tribune:
"I have been instructed by the Village Council to enforce the
ordinance against chickens running at large and riding bicycles
on the sidewalk. — Harry Shells, Village Marshal."
MUST HAVE BEEN THERE.
A prospective tenant, who had been looking over a house,
"I think, after all, a flat would suit us better."
"Well, sir, for myself," said the owner, "I feel a flat is so
much like a prison ; but then, of course, it all depends on what
you're accustomed to."
HIS INTENTION GOOD.
"I tried to pay the new woman a compliment last night in my
speech, but it didn't seem to be the least bit appreciated."
"What did you say?" inquired the wife of the lecturer.
"I said the new woman would leave large footprints on the
sands of time."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 4±
A story is told of a candidate who, after kissing and praising
an assortment of eleven children, and marveling much at their
resemblance to a matronly lady, who blushed as he talked of it,
requested that she should tell her husband that he had called.
"I have no husband," she answered.
"But these children, madam? You surely are not a widow?"
"I feared you were mistaken, sir, when you first came up the
steps ; these are not my children — this is a private orphan asylum."
PLENTY OF MATERIAL.
This is the way one pastor made an announcement:
"The Reverend Doctor Orrville will lecture on 'Fools' in the
Jefferson Avenue Church Friday evening, and I trust a great
many will attend."
RECALLING FORMER DAYS.
The president of a small college was visiting the little town that
had been his former home, and had been asked to address an
audience of his former neighbors. In order to assure them that
his career had not caused him to put on airs, he began his address
"My dear friends — I won't call you ladies and gentlemen —
I know you too well for that."
A witness, in describing a certain event, said:
"The person I saw at the head of the stairs was a man with
one eye named Wilkins."
"What was the name of the other eye?" spitefully asked the
The witness was plainly disgusted with the levity of the
42 WIT AND HUMOR
VERY NEAR A CRISIS.
A young man had been calling now and then on a young lady,
when, one night, as he sat in the parlor waiting for her to come
down, her mother entered the room instead, and asked him in a
very grave, stern way what his intentions were. He turned red,
and was about to stammer some sort of a reply, when suddenly
the young lady called down from the head of the stairs:
"Mamma ! Mamma ! That's not the one."
They had just renewed their acquaintance after five years.
"Upon my word, Miss Haggerty," he said, frankly, "you have
changed so much I would hardly have known you."
"For the better or the worse?" she asked, with an arch look.
"Ah, my dear girl, you could only change for the better."
Then he wondered why she turned away from him.
HE MISSED A GOOD CHANCE.
"I will confess to you," she said, "that I am older than I look.
I will be thirty-one my next birthday."
"Really?" replied the caller; "hardly any one would guess you
to be more than about twenty-nine or thirty."
"That's the last time," she said to her mother when he had
departed, "that I'll ever try to be nice to a brute."
Two ladies, previously unacquainted, were conversing at a
reception. After a few conventional remarks the younger ex-
"I can not think what has upset that tall man over there. He
was so attentive a little while ago, but he won't look at me now."
"Perhaps," said the other, "he saw me come in. He's my
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 43
THE CRITICAL MOMENT.
Everything was in readiness. The groom, best man, and the
minister were gathered in the vestry. The organist began to play
and the minister started for the door.
"Wait one moment, Doctor," called the nervous groom. "Is it
the right or left hand the ring goes on?"
"The left," hurriedly replied the minister.
"And, Doctor, is — is it kisstomary to cuss the bride ?" anxiously
inquired the excited groom.
WHERE MANY GET TANGLED.
"Papa," said the fair daughter, "did Abner call on you at the
office this morning?"
"Yes ; but I couldn't make much out of what he said."
"Why, papa! What do you mean?"
"Well, as near as I could understand, he said he wanted to
marry me ; that you had enough money to support him, and that
we loved each other very much, so I told him to go home and
calm down, and write it out in plain English."
HAD A BRIGHT IDEA.
"Where's your new flat? I may call on you."
"On West Fourteenth Street, near Walnut Avenue."
"But won't the trolley-cars bother you there?"
"The landlord assured us they won't bother us at all after the
first few nights," replied the stupid young man, "and, you know,
we can spend the first few nights at father's."
MIGHT HAVE BEEN FATAL.
A burglar, in attempting to enter Wright's store, says the
Butler County (Ky.) Reformer, was shot at by Win f red Rardin.
The man started to run, the bullet striking him between the fence
corner and front gate, inflicting a superficial wound.
44 WIT AND HUMOR
THE TRUTH OFTEN HURTS.
"Bill !" the poet gasped, staggering into his friend's room.
"Why, what's wrong?" the friend asked, startled as he caught
the tottering man.
"Wrong?" the poet muttered; "I wrote a poem about my little
boy, beginning the first verse with these words : 'My son ! My
pigmy counterpart.' "
"Yes? Go on; tell me quick. What's the matter?"
The poet drew a long breath as he took the paper from his
pocket, and, with his face blanched, pointed to the poem. The
friend read aloud:
"My son ! My pig, my counterpart !"
ALL IN HER MIND.
The superintendent of the county jail was escorting a party
of women visitors through the building. They entered a room
where three women were busy sewing. As they turned to leave,
one of the visitors said:
"What vicious-looking creatures! What are they in for?
They really look capable of committing almost any crime."
"Well," slowly replied the superintendent, much embarrassed,
"you see, they have no other home. This is my private sitting-
room, and they are my wife and two daughters.",
THE REASON WHY.
Two old friends were walking along the street with locked
arms, discussing various topics. After exchanging family solici-
tations, the absent-minded judge asked the major:
"And dear old Mrs. Motander, your aunt? She must be
rather feeble now. Tell me how she is."
"We buried her just yesterday," said the major.
"Buried her? Dear me ! Is the good old lady dead?"
"Yes ; that's why we buried her."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 45
HAD A HANDY HUSBAND.
The bride was anxious not to forget to order two chickens
for dinner, so she repeated to herself while clearing away the
breakfast dishes :
"Grocer — chickens — grocer — chickens."
The words became confused in her mind, so when she went
to the 'phone she asked :
"Have you any nice young grocers?"
"Why, why, yes," replied the astonished voice at the other end
of the wire.
"Well," said the bride, "send me two, dressed."
"Dressed?" said the voice, more astonished than before.
"Why, no," answered the young wife, reflectively; "I believe
you may send them undressed. If my husband comes home early,
he will wring their necks and the cook can dress them."
YOU MAY HAVE BEEN GUILTY.
So many persons make blunders in their speech that it becomes
nearly all of us to put on the soft pedal when laughing at them.
A doctor's wife, in speaking of one of his patients, said: "I am
sure she will die, as my husband is treating her."
The warden of an insane asylum said of one of the inmates:
"He would not eat himself or allow any one else to."
A high-school principal made this rule: "Students must not
throw rocks at cows on their way to school."
A preacher said : "My good people, we will sing songs of joy
ourselves this morning, because the choir is absent."
The self-made man was speaking, and said: "My father was
a raiser of hogs. There was a large family of us."
And then he looked around in amazement, wondering why the
people were laughing so uproariously.
46 WIT AND HUMOR
TOO LATE TO CHANGE IT.
There was a dear, pink little baby on the train, and an elderly
man stopped to take a peek at it.
"A fine youngster/' he said to its demure mother ; "I hope you
will bring him up to be an upright, conscientious man."
. "Yes," smiled the mother, "but I'm afraid it will be a bit
"Pshaw!" said he, with a knowing air; "as the twig is bent
so the tree is inclined."
"I know it," agreed the now blushing young mother, "but this
twig is bent on being a girl."
PERHAPS IT WAS OPPORTUNE.
One of the ushers in a fashionable church and his wife left
home in a hurry on Sunday morning, and, after she had been
seated in the church, happened to think she had left the gas
burning. She was so disturbed she wrote a note and passed
it to her husband. He supposing it to be an announcement,
without looking at it, walked up and handed the slip of paper
to the preacher. The minister was almost dumbfounded to
"Please go home and turn off the gas."
A Philadelphia paper tells of an actor who was a stickler for
correct English, both on and off the stage, and often took an
opportunity to set right the erring in this respect. On one
occasion he had gone into a New York drugstore and asked
for a man's comb.
"Do you want a narrow man's comb?" inquired the clerk,
"No," replied the actor, with the utmost gravity, "I desire a
comb for a stout man with rubber teeth."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 47
The chairman of the committee was addressing a meeting at
a teachers' institute, says Answers, and began :
"My friends, the schoolwork is the bulhouse of civilization ; I
mean, ah — "
He began to feel frightened as he tried again :
"The bulhouse is the schoolwork of civ — "
A smile could be felt all around.
"The workhouse is the bulschool of — "
His embarrassment was becoming painful.
"The schoolhouse, my friends — "
A sigh of relief went up. He gazed serenely around. The
light of triumphant self-confidence was once more enthroned upon
his brow as he made another effort :
"The schoolhouse, my friends, is the woolbark — "
Then he lost consciousness.
IT'S A POOR RULE.
"Didn't you tell me you had made yourself solid with Mrs.
Banker by asking her if she was herself or her daughter — couldn't
tell them apart, and all that?"
"Yes; what about it?"
"Well, I tried it with the daughter, and she got mad as a
hornet. I'm a dead duck there, all right !"
THE 'PHONE TWISTED IT.
The agent for a concert had left copy for the program at the
printer's, and the next day the papers announced the death of a
noted man. Wishing to play something appropriate in memory
of the departed, the agent called up the printer on the 'phone,
and asked if it was too late to put in another line.
"I think we can manage it," was the reply.
"Good !" exclaimed the agent ; "it's this — right at the beginning
48 WIT AND HUMOR
of the program put these words : 'Funeral March, by Chopin.' Be
sure to get the last word correct — C-h-o-p-i-n, Chopin."
When a copy of the program was handed to him on the night
of the concert he was almost paralyzed to read:
"A few remarks by Chopin."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 49
Know when to speak, for many times it brings
Danger to give the best advice to kings. — Herrick.
NOT TO BE MIXED.
Singing Teacher: "Now, children, give us 'Little Drops of
Water,' and put some spirit in it."
Principal, whispering: "Be careful, sir. This is a temperance
school. Better say, Tut some ginger in it.' "
NOT TO HIS LIKING.
Stonum: "I understand that Senator Green wanted you to
act as his private secretary."
Simmons: "He did, but I wouldn't accept the position. I
would have to sign everything 'Green, per Simmons.' "
TIME ENOUGH FOR BOTH.
"Come right on in, Sambo," the farmer called out. "He won't
hurt you. You know a barking dog never bites."
"Sure, boss, Ah knows dat," replied the cautious colored man,
"but Ah don't know how soon he's gwine to stop barking."
HOW HE LIKED THEM.
"How will you have your eggs cooked?" asked the waiter.
"Make any difference in the cost?" inquired the man with the
"No — all the same price, any way you take them."
"Then cook them on a slice of ham," said the customer, greatly
50 WIT AND HUMOR
NOT THE LEADER.
A very small boy was trying to lead a big St. Bernard up the
"Where are you going to take the dog, my little man?" in-
quired a passer-by.
"I — I'm going to see where — where he wants to go first," was
the breathless reply.
STILL UP IN THE AIR.
A man met another, and while not remembering who he was,
but feeling certain that he was acquainted with him, held out his
hand and said :
"I am sure I have met you somewhere."
"No doubt," was the cool reply; "I have often been there."
PREFERRED TO BE UNSTUNG.
"I hear you had some trouble at the picnic," said Fred.
"Yes," sighed Percy, "the girls called me a coward because I
wouldn't get them a hornets' nest."
"Unhonored and unsung?" chuckled Fred.
"Yes," said Percy, "but unstung."
THEIR FIRST EXPERIENCE.
A woman hired a taxicab. The door of the cab was hardly
closed before the engine started with a jerk, and the cab began
to race madly along, narrowly missing lamp-posts, street-cars,
policemen, etc. Becoming frightened, the woman rapped on the
window of the cab and said :
"Please be careful, Mr. Driver. This is the first time I ever
rode in a taxicab."
The chauffeur replied reassuringly:
"That's all right, ma'am. This is the first time I ever drove
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 51
"Why don't you announce yourself as a Presidential can-
"Because," replied Senator Crabtree, "I don't believe I could
get nominated. And if I did get nominated, I couldn't get elected.
And if I did get elected, I couldn't fill the position properly. And
if I did fill it properly, I wouldn't get much credit for it anyhow."
LOOKING FOR A SCOOP.
The new reporter called at the hotel to interview a prominent
politician who had dropped into town, and, after inducing him
to step over to one corner of the lobby, said to him in a whisper :
"I am a reporter on the Evening Journal, and should like you
to tell me what you think of the Government's foreign policy."
The politician had every appearance of being perplexed as he
said in low tones :
"Follow me, please."
Leading the way, he walked out into the dining-room, passed
on into the poolroom, then on into the reading-room, down a
flight of steps into the drawing-room, then through a long pas-
sage into the corner back of the hat-rack, when he whispered :
"I really, sir, don't know anything about it."
. Fortunately for him, the reporter got out without fainting.
The peddler rapped timidly at the kitchen door. Mrs. Kelly,
angry at being interrupted in her washing, flung open the door
and glowered at the man.
"Do you wish to see me?" she demanded, in harsh tones.
The peddler backed cautiously off the steps as he said with
an apologetic grin :
"Veil, if I did I got my vish, dank you !"
52 WIT AND HUMOR
WOULDN'T INCRIMINATE HIMSELF.
Johnny had been having a good time with his new air rifle,
when an irate woman next door screamed out at him :
"Did you break my window?"
Looking from her to the broken glass, the boy calmly asked:
"Did you saw me?"
"Then I didn't do it," he said, as he took aim at the cat.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 53
Things don't turn up in this world until something turns them up. —
James A. Garfield.
A HARD QUESTION.
"Won't you be very, very happy when your sentence is over ?"
asked a woman, cheerily, of a convict in prison.
"I dunno, lady," gloomily replied the man; "I'm in for life."
HE WENT THE LIMIT.
"Did you see my sunburst last night?" inquired the pompous
Mrs. Waddington of her neighbor, who had also been at the
"No, I didn't," replied the other, caustically, "but I certainly
thought he would if he ate another bite,"
TAKING TOO MUCH RISK.
The cavalry sergeant was plainly provoked as he approached
one of his men and said :
"I told you never to step up to a horse from the rear without
speaking to him. First thing you know they'll kick you in the
head, and we'll have a bunch of lame horses on our hands. You
have simply got to be more careful."
HIS OWN PRIVATE AFFAIR.
Mr. Garrett (at the theater) : "Will I have time to go out and
get a drink, Mr. Usher?"
Courteous Usher (referring to the curtain) : "It won't stay
down a minute, sir."
"That's my business, sir !" sharply replied Garrett.
54 WIT AND HUMOR
MANY IN THE SAME BOAT.
"I believe," said the tired business man, as he put aside the
telephone, "that I'll go fishing."
"Didn't know you were fond of fishing."
"Ordinarily I am not, but it's the only chance I see of getting
at the end of a line that isn't busy."
TOO MUCH CURIOSITY.
A man speeded up to see if he could beat the train to the
crossing. He couldn't.
A man struck a match to see if the gasoline-tank on his auto-
mobile was empty. It wasn't.
A man patted a strange bulldog on the head to see if the
critter was affectionate. The pup wasn't.
A man asked a girl to marry him just to see if she was
engaged. She wasn't.
SHOULD BE WILLING TO RISK IT.
"I would like to help you," said the particular man, "but
if I give you a nickel I'm afraid you may not put it to good
"Well," replied the philosophic tramp, "a nickel ain't enough
to do much harm with, or much good, either, for that matter, so
take a chance, Gov'ner — take a chance."
DOING TWO THINGS AT ONCE.
"Robbie," called the teacher, sternly, as she came upon a scene
of trouble, "why are you sitting on that boy?"
"He pasted me in de eye !" said Bobbie, savagely.
"But didn't I tell you to count one hundred before you let
your angry passions rise?"
"Yes'm, and I'm doin' it. I'm sittin' on him so he'll be here
when I get troo countin' !"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 55
NOT IN DEMAND.
A society girl approached a popular singer and asked sweetly :
"Can't I put you down for a couple of tickets ? We're getting
up a raffle for a poor man."
"My dear," replied the singer, "I wouldn't know what under
the sun to do with a poor man if I won him !"
WHY FATHER WAS CAUTIOUS.
"Father," said the son, just approaching his majority, "I
would like to talk with you about my future. I have made up
my mind to become an artist. You have no objections, have
"Well, no, my son — with the understanding, of course, that
you don't draw on me."
56 WIT AND HUMOR
Our neighbor's children are always the worst. — German Proverb.
PERHAPS TIRED OUT.
Little Edna was endeavoring, in vain, to thread a needle,
and finally said:
"Mamma, I fink dis needle must be asleep. I just can't
get the thread in its eye at all."
JUST LIKE THE DARLING.
"I suppose your baby sister cries some?" asked one of the
"Cries!" said Mary; "why, she just seems to look on the dark
side of things all the time."
SUCH A FOOLISH QUESTION.
Leslie, aged four, went into a near-by grocery for some
"Is it for your mother?" asked the clerk.
"No, of course not," replied the boy with disdain, "it's for
NOT TO BE OUTDONE.
Elizabeth and Sarah, playing together at school, had a slight
quarrel, and, in order to show her superiority, Elizabeth said
"We keep two servants, and have two automobiles, and a great
Sarah hesitated a moment, then, with equal pride, said:
"And we've got a skunk under our barn."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 57
IN THE GOOD OLD WAY.
Kind-hearted Lady : "What are you crying that way for,
Harold (pausing an instant) : " 'Cause it's the only way I
knows how to cry. It's the way all the little boys cry."
NOT THAT SERIOUS.
"I'm sorry to hear your mother is ill," said the sympathizing
teacher to the little girl who had come late; "is she sick a-bed?"
"Not quite," replied the truthful child; "she's just sick
WHERE THE LINE WAS DRAWN.
The visitor was asked to make a talk to a class of boys in
Sunday school, and, after explaining to them the human nature of
"Was he not a man, like myself?"
"No, sir; he was a good man," promptly answered one of
THE CHILD'S REQUEST.
Little Cordelia's grandmother had an old-fashioned way of
measuring a yard by holding one end of the goods to her nose,
and then stretching the piece at arm's length. One day the child
found a bit of ribbon and gravely requested :
"Grandma, smell this and see how long it is."
WHY SHE WAS THOUGHTFUL.
Bessie was on her way to church with a woman who thought
a great deal of her, and was handling a nickel which had been
given to her to put in the collection plate. With a wistful look
she asked :
"Don't you wish church was like stores, and give us back some
58 WIT AND HUMOR
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.
Mother: "Helen, dear, little girls must not talk all the time
at the table."
Helen: "When will I be old enough to, mother?"
JUST AN ORDINARY MAN.
On papa's return home in the evening his five-year-old
daughter said to him:
"A strange man was here to-day to see you, papa."
"Did he have a bill?" the father inquired.
"No, papa, just a plain nose like all the rest of us."
NOT FOND OF THEM.
Homer, who was eating dinner at the home of a neighbor, had
three times refused chicken gravy. The good woman, who had
added macaroni, finally said:
"Why, I thought you liked chicken gravy?"
"I do, most times," replied Homer, regretfully, "but mamma
never puts the wind-pipes in."
VERY REAL FOR SISTER.
"Why, Jacky, open the door and let sister in. Don't you
see it's raining?" cried the boy's mother.
"Can't do it, mamma," said Jacky, earnestly; "we're playing
Noah's ark. I'm Noah and Katie is the sinners, and she muct stay
out in the wet — don't you see?"
SETTLED FOR ALL TIME.
A little boy, noted for his thoughtfulness, when asked why
the giraffe has such a long neck, replied:
"'Cause his head is so far from his body."
None of the learned men present could dispute the boy's
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 59
WILLING TO WAIT.
Anabelle, who is fond of ice-cream, was spending the day with
her aunt. She had eaten her first dish, and, after a short silence,
begged for a second.
"I'm afraid," said the aunt, "that it would make you sick, and
then you couldn't come to visit me."
"But, auntie," was the cheerful reply, "I could come just as
soon as ever I got well."
HIS POWER SUPREME.
"Oh, no," soliloquized little Bruce, "there ain't no favorites
in this family! Oh, no! If I bite my finger nails just a little
bit, I get a rap over the knuckles, but if the baby eats his whole
foot, they think he's the cutest thing that ever was."
CORRECT IN ONE SENSE.
Little Marjorie had a severe cold, and, holding a rose to her
mother's nose, asked her if it was sweet.
"Yes, dear," the mother replied; "can't you smell it?"
"No, mamma, my nose is deaf."
KNEW FROM EXPERIENCE.
The teacher had been talking about military fortifications, and
"Now, children, can you tell me what is a buttress?"
"Please, ma'am," said Sammy, eagerly, "it's a nanny goat!"
NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED.
The primary teacher asked her class to name one thing of im-
portance that did not exist a hundred years ago.
Dollie, the only child in a well-to-do home, who was seated
near the front, promptly arose, and with an air of importance
60 WIT AND HUMOR
WHERE HE FAILED.
Freddie had been taught in Sunday school that man was
made out of dust. One evening, when the little fellow's father
came home, the boy surprised him by saying:
"Papa, I made a man out of dirt to-day, but I just couldn't
put the wiggle in him."
"Are you and papa both goin' to stay home this evening?"
asked the little child.
"Yes, dear," replied the mother.
The little one was thoughtful a moment, then asked, seriously :
"What ith the matter, mamma?"
JUST KILLING TIME.
Etta : "Mamma is dressing now."
Lady Caller: "Why, she needn't have changed her dress just
for me, dearie."
"I know it, but she said the more time she tooked that way
the less time she'd have to put up with you."
WHAT HE GOT.
Bobby sat with his papa in church, when the collection basket
was passed around. After the deacon had gone he whispered in
his father's ear:
"Daddy, how much did you get? I got a quarter!"
SHE WENT PREPARED.
Five-year-old Rachel had been in Chicago for the first time,
and, upon her return, was asked by a neighbor if she didn't find
the city much bigger than she expected.
"No," was her prompt reply, "for I expected to find it bigger
than I expected."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 61^
MARK OF IDENTIFICATION.
Little Minnie, in telling something said by one of the guests
at a social affair at her home, had difficulty in remembering his
"Was it Mr. Walker?" asked the mother, suggestively.
"No," replied Minnie, and then with sudden inspiration, "it
was the one with the gone hair."
APPRECIATED HIS BLUNDER.
Harold, five years old, came in and told his mother he had
walked home from kindergarten with Mr. and Mrs. Smithers.
When informed that they were not married, but were brother and
sister, the boy replied rather coyly:
"That's a good one on me, then. I've been calling him Mr.
Smithers right along."
KNOWN BY THE FRUIT.
"This tree seems to be loaded with apples," observed the city
visitor to the little daughter of the friend he was visiting in the
country, and continued : "Are all your trees as full of apples as
"Oh, no, sir," was the prompt reply, with an air of deep
understanding; "only the apple-trees."
THOUGHT HIS TURN HAD COME.
Carl had been deeply impressed by the story of the creation of
Adam and Eve, as told by the Sunday-school teacher, and es-
pecially the part about Eve being made from one of Adam's ribs.
The next day while playing at home he had a pain in his side, and
when his mother found him on the bed he was sobbing.
"Why, what's the matter with my little man?" she asked.
"Oh, dear," said he, very seriously, "I guess I'm getting a
62 WIT AND HUMOR
FINDING OUT FOR HIMSELF.
Harry had heard the folks around the house talking about his
pretty sister's ardent suitor, and easily understood what they said,
but not always what they meant. One evening, when the young
man had called, he walked with grim determination into the
parlor and opened out his chubby hand, filled with small white
"What's them?" he asked in a tone of demand.
"Beans," said the young man, with an ingratiating smile.
"He does know them, maw !" the boy bawled out triumphantly
to his mother in the adjoining room; "you said he didn't."
The hostess was much given to talking, and, in relating some
interesting incidents, forgot to give little Charlotte anything to
eat. After some time had elapsed, the little girl could bear it no
longer. With sobs rising in her throat, she held her plate up high
as she said: "Does anybody want a clean plate?"
NOT AS WAS EXPECTED.
"Now, who was it that was not glad when the prodigal son
returned home?" asked a teacher in the Primary department, ex-
pecting to hear the reply, "The elder brother." Instantly a little
hand went up, and the teacher asked :
"Who was it, Tony?"
"It was the calf," came the confident answer.
LOOKED MIXED TO HIM.
Harry pointed to a preacher and asked his mother :
"Mamma, who is that man ?"
"Hush, darling ; that's the gentleman that married me."
Harry, perplexed : "Then, what's pa doing hanging around our
house all the time?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 63
HE HEARD ONLY ONE.
Teddy had never seen a cow, being a city boy. While on a
visit to the country he walked across the fields with his grand-
father. There they saw a cow, and Teddy's curiosity was greatly
"What is that?" he asked, breathlessly.
"Why, that's a cow?"
"And what are those things on her head?"
"Those are her horns."
As they walked on, the cow mooed loud and long. The boy
jumped around in surprise and exclaimed, as he looked back :
"Which horn did she blow, grandpa?"
TOO HEAVY AFTER THAT.
When the Christmas dinner was over, the family and guests
adjourned to the big sitting-room, where they were joined by
several of the neighbors. Consequently there was a scarcity of
chairs, and a young gentleman friend of the family, who had taken
dinner with them, held Willie on his lap. This would have
worked all right if the grown folks had kept talking, but during
a lull in the conversation Willie looked up into the face of the
young man holding him and innocently asked, in a loud voice:
"Am I nearly as heavy as sister Mabel?"
CLAIMED ONE IDEA.
Evelyn was discovered by her mother engaged in a spirited
encounter with a small friend, who had got considerably worsted
in the engagement.
"Don't you know, dear," said the mother, "that it is very wicked
to behave so? It was Satan that put it into your head to pull
"Well, perhaps it was," Evelyn admitted, "but kicking her
shins was my own idea, so it was !"
64 WIT AND HUMOR
WANTED IT AT ANY COST.
"Ma," said little Ethel at two o'clock on a cold morning, "I
want a drink."
"Hush, darling," said the mother, "turn over and go to sleep."
"But I want a drink."
"No, you are only restless."
After a silence of perhaps five minutes the child commenced
"Ma, I want a drink."
"If you say another word, I'll get up and spank you," said the
"Ma, when you get up to spank me will you get me a drink?"
This brought the much-desired drink of water.
ONE THING HE OVERLOOKED.
"Children," began the Sunday-school superintendent, "this pic-
ture illustrates to-day's lesson. Lot was warned to take his wife
and daughters and flee out of Sodom. Here are Lot and his
daughters, with his wife just behind them, and there is Sodom
in the background. Now, has any girl or boy a question before
we take up the study of the lesson? Well, Susie?"
"Pleathe, thir," lisped the latest graduate from the infant
class, "where ith the flea?"
HAD THAT APPEARANCE.
Doris rushed out of the house and halted a passing neighbor,
"Oh, you don't know what we've got upstairs! It's a new
baby brother !"
Then expectantly she watched the effect of her announcement.
"You don't say so! Is he going to stay?" came the response.
"I think so," said Doris, very thoughtfully ; "he's got his
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 65
Charlie's grandfather was talking to him about battles he was
in during the Civil War, and said :
"Nearly a generation and a half ago my head was grazed by
a bullet in the battle of Chickamauga."
Charlie looked carefully at the bald head of his grandfathe
and said :
"Not much grazing there now, is there, grandpa?"
REMEMBERED IT ALL.
Mamma: "Now, Frankie, if they pass you cake a second
time at the party, you must say, 'No, thanks, I've had plenty.'
And don't you forget it."
All went well with the boy until the hostess said kindly :
"Won't Frankie have another piece of cake?"
"No, thanks. I've had enough, and don't you forget it!" was
the astonishing reply.
HIS LOGICAL CONCLUSION.
When nine years of age Orrin wanted to keep a diary. His
first entry was, "Got up this morning at seven o'clock," which he
proudly showed to his mother, but she, much to his surprise, said :
"Got up, indeed! Such an expression! Does the sun get up?
No ; it rises."
That night, just before retiring, Orrin made this entry in his
diary: "Set at nine o'clock."
LIKE THE GROWN-UPS.
The father of a St. Louis boy had given him a dime and a
quarter, telling him he might put one or the other on the church
collection plate. At the Sunday dinner the father asked the boy
which coin he had given.
"Well, papa," was the philosophical reply, "'at first it seemed
66 WIT AND HUMOR
to me that I ought to put the quarter on the plate, but just in time
I remembered the verse, The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,' and
I knew I could give the ten-cent piece cheerfully, so I put that in."
TIME TO BE GOING.
As the Sunday-school teacher entered her classroom she
was surprised to see a little girl and her still smaller brother
leaving in great haste, the girl ahead and tugging at the other
"Why, Carrie, you aren't going away, are you?" the teacher
"Pleathe, Mith Anne, we've got to go," was the anxious reply;
"Jimmy'th thwallowed hith collection."
HIS FIRST "SOCIETY" LESSON.
Elmo overheard his mother saying to his older brother that it
was a tactful thing to appear to think people younger than they
were. His sister's French teacher arrived shortly after, and it fell
to Elmo to entertain her until his sister appeared.
"How old are you, Miss Grey?" he asked, very politely.
"I'm dreadfully old," she answered ; "I'm twenty-three."
"Oh," said the little fellow, "I — I never thinked you was
more'n — seven or eight."
JUST LIKE A WOMAN.
Home study for Albert had just begun, and he found it hard
to apply himself to regular hours. At bedtime, one evening, his
"Albert, I'm not at all pleased with the report your mother
gives me of your conduct to-day."
"I knowed you wouldn't be, and I told ma so. But she went
right ahead and told you, just the same. Just like a woman,
ain't it, pa?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 67
HIS OCCUPATION PICKED.
"Mamma, what does pa work at?"
"Why, he's a tea-sampler; he samples the different kinds of
"Do you know what I'm going to be when I grow up, mamma ?"
"No; what is it, my boy?"
"Best trade in the world ! A pie-sampler !"
OFTEN WORKS THAT WAY.
The seven-year-old son of a Pennsylvania judge attended his
father's court for the first time, and was much interested in the
proceedings. Upon his return home he was questioned as to his
experience, and responded as follows :
"Oh, papa just made a speech, and then some other men made
speeches to twelve men who sat all together. Then they was put
in a dark room to develop."
THE WAY IT LOOKED TO HIM.
Hostess, at a party: "Does your mother allow you two pieces
of pie when at home?"
Ralph, hesitatingly: "No, ma'am."
Hostess: "Well, do you think she'd like you to have two
Ralph, with confidence : "Oh, she wouldn't care, I'm sure ; this
isn't her pie."
68 WIT AND HUMOR
Old boys have playthings as well as young ones; the difference is only
in the price. — Franklin.
A WELL-KNOWN FACT.
"What has become of your watch ? The one you used to carry
had such a handsome gold case."
"I know it did, but, as you've often heard, no doubt, circum-
stances alter cases."
THE IMPORTANT THING.
"Your wife seems very busy these days."
"Yes ; she is to address a women's club Friday."
"Ah, I see; working on her address?"
"No, her dress."
THE REAL OFFENDER.
Mother heard a terrible scuffling on the porch and looked out
to ascertain the cause.
"Oh, you naughty boy!" she called to her four-year-old son;
"stop pulling that cat's tail."
"I'm not pulling it, mamma," he said, innocently; "I'm only
holding it. The cat's doing all the pulling."
AT BOTH ENDS OF LIFE.
"It used to please me," said the old man, reflectively, "when
the barber asked if I wanted a shave when I was a youngster."
"Quite natural," responded the listener.
"Yes ; and now he sometimes flatters me by asking if I want a
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 69
COULDN'T STAND IT REVERSED.
David McKeegan was the only grocer in the little Scotch vil-
lage, and was earnestly going about his work when a little old
woman came in.
"Did ye no' dismiss my lad this morning, after he had served
ye for a week as errand-boy?" she asked.
"Yes," said McKeegan, "I did. I'm sorry to say that he was
too slow and lazy."
"Weel," said the woman, "he's rather to be pitied. He's whit
they ca' a somnambulist — walks in his sleep, ye ken — "
"Yes, yes," interrupted the grocer; "that's all right. I could
stand that, but I don't want a boy around who sleeps in his walk."
OF A DIFFERENT COLOR.
Visitor, endeavoring to console Arthur, who has upset a bottle
of ink on the carpet : "There's no use crying over spilt milk."
"Of course not," replied the boy; anybody knows that. All
you have to do is to call the cat, and she'll lick it up. But this
don't happen to be milk, and mother'll do the licking."
THE WAY SHE FIGURED IT.
"Aunt Mollie, do you think you are a Christian?" asked a
preacher while talking to an old negro woman who was smoking
"Yes, brudder, I 'spects I is."
"Do you know that there is a passage in the Scripture that
declares that nothing unclean shall inherit the kingdom of
"Yes, I'se heard ob it, brudder."
"Well, you smoke, and there is nothing so unclean as the
breath of a smoker. So what do you say to that?"
"Well, when I goes dere, pahson, I 'spects I'se gwine to leave
my breff behind me."
70 WIT AND HUMOR
LIMITED TO THE LIMIT.
John and Pat, friendly workmen, were constantly tilting each
"Are you good at measurement ?" asked John.
"I am that," promptly replied Pat.
"Then, could you tell me how many shirts I could get out of
"Sure," said Pat, "jist as many as were on the loine."
CAUSE OF THE ALARM.
William Smith, a country storekeeper, went to the city to buy
goods. They were sent immediately, and reached home before
he did. When the boxes were delivered, Mrs. Smith, who was
keeping the store, uttered a scream, seized a hatchet and began
frantically to open the largest box.
"What under the sun is the matter?" asked one of the by-
standers in amazement.
Pale and faint, Mrs. Smith pointed to an inscription on the
box which read : "Bill inside."
NO TIME FOR SHOPPING.
Mrs. Eby: "I'm going downtown this morning, hubby."
Mr. Eby: "Shopping, my dear?"
Mrs. Eby: "No, I haven't time for that to-day; just to buy
some things I need."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 71
He knows no refuge from confession but suicide, and suicide is con-
fession. — Daniel Webster.
MUCH IN DEMAND.
Comedian: "I played Hamlet once."
"Did you have a long run?" inquired a listener.
"About three miles, near as I can remember now."
WOULDN'T ACKNOWLEDGE IT.
An Irishman saw, while passing through a cemetery, these
words engraved on a tombstone : "I still live."
Pat paused a moment and mused :
"Be jabers, if I was dead I wouldn't be denyin' it."
ADVICE ALREADY TAKEN.
"What's the matter, little boy?" asked the kind-hearted man of
the lad who was yelling lustily.
"Boo-boo, boo-boo," sobbed the boy.
"Come, come, don't mind," said the man, soothingly.
"I didn't," sobbed the boy, "and that's just wha* I got licked
BELIEVED IN SELF-PROTECTION.
"You admit, then," inquired the judge, severely, "that you
stole the pig?"
"I has to, boss," said the prisoner.
"Very well, then. There's been a lot of pig-stealing going on
around here lately, and I am going to make an example of you,
or none of us will be safe "
72 WIT AND HUMOR
NOT A GOOD CUSHION.
Frank, aged twenty, came home from a party, and, in answer
to a question from his mother as to how he enjoyed it, replied,
with some hesitation:
"All right, except my new stiff hat got mashed. One of the
girls sat down on it."
"There it goes again," said his mother, reprovingly. "I can
never get you to be orderly and systematic — to put things in their
proper place. If you could not hang your hat up, you should have
held it in your lap."
"That's where it was," he replied, sheepishly.
CORNERED THE CLERGYMAN.
One day a commercial traveler met a preacher on the train,
and took him to be a brother carrier of samples.
"Do you represent a big house?" he began.
"Biggest on earth — Lord and Church," said the minister.
"Lord and Church? Don't know 'em. Got any branches?"
"Branches all over the world."
"Funny I never heard of them. Dry goods, I suppose?"
"Well," said the clergyman, smiling, "they do call my sermons
NO NEED OF A TRIAL.
An old negro, who for several years had conducted an illicit
still in the mountains of Kentucky, fell a victim to the vigilance of
the revenue officers, and was taken before the court.
"What's your name?" inquired the judge.
"Joshua, yo' honnah," said the negro, much frightened.
"Ah, I suppose, then, you are the Joshua who made the sun
"No, sah, I'se not dat Joshua at all ; I'se de Joshua dat made
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 73
SHE HAD HEARD OF IT.
Two married women were discussing their days of courtship,
when one said with a reminiscent smile :
"My husband made a perfect fool of himself when he proposed
"That's what I've heard a number of people say," was the cruel
response of the other.
The reminiscent smile immediately faded.
HAD NARROW ESCAPE.
"About half a mile down this road, my friend, there's a farmer
who wants men to help him in his fields," remarked a pedestrian
as he handed a coin to a tramp.
"Thanks for the warning, guv'ner," said the wanderer, grate-
fully; "I might have strolled down by there, accidental-like."
LAUGHTER AND TEARS.
Tommy emerged from a room in which his father was tacking
down carpet. The boy was crying bitterly.
"Why, what's the matter?" inquired his mother in surprise.
"Papa hit his finger with the hammer," cried the boy.
"Well, don't cry at a little thing like that. Why didn't you
laugh?" said the mother, thinking to comfort him.
"I did," was the disconsolate reply.
THE WAY IT IMPRESSED HIM.
Clifford was told at Sunday school that when he died he
would leave his body on earth. He was troubled about it, and
questioned his mother, who explained to him by saying:
"You will take all the good with you, but leave all that is
naughty here below."
The boy thought a moment, then, looking up, said :
"Well, I'll likely be awfully thin when I get up there."
74 WIT AND HUMOR
A LONG WAYS OFF.
This life would be a merry jaunt,
From woe we'd all be free,
Were we as honest as we want
All other men to be.
— Cincinnati Enquirer.
And all of us would now wear wings,
Like birds that pierce the blue,
If we would only do the thrngs
Our neighbors want us to.
— Nebraska State Journal.
A happy world of this we'd make,
One free from fret and fuss,
If all the people here would take
Their good advrce from us.
— Detroit Free Press.
We'd store up pleasure in our vaults
And throw away the key,
If all our friends could see their faults
As quickly as do we. — Judge.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 75
Until a man becomes as good an anvil as he is a hammer, he fails to
be thoroughly fitted for his work. — 7. G. Holland.
NOTHING TO LAUGH AT.
Friend: "So this is one of your jokes, is it? Ha! Ha! Ha!"
Humorist, testily: "Well, what are you laughing at, anyhow?
Isn't it a good one ?"
BENEATH HIS NOTICE.
"By the way," said the gentlemanly-looking man in the black
broadcloth suit, "if you mention my name in connection with the
accident, you might say that Dr. Swanken was called, and the
fractured arm suitably bandaged, or something to that effect.
Here's my card."
"Thanks," said the reporter, looking at the card. "You are
next to Dr. Snyder, I believe. Suppose you are acquainted with
"No, sir," was the stiff reply. "We do not recognize him as
a member of the profession. He advertises."
THE SPIDER AND THE BOY.
"See the spider, my son, spinning its web," said the father to
his small son. "Is it not wonderful ? Do you reflect that no man
could spin that web, no matter how hard he might try?"
"Welt, what of it?" replied the offspring. "Watch me spin
this top. No spider in the world can do that, no matter how hard
he might try."
76 WIT AND HUMOR
A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple.— •
THE TRAMP'S COMPLAINT.
"Some guys ain't got no heart," said the tramp to his pal.
"Here I bin a-tellin' dat feller dat I wuz so flat broke dat I had
ter sleep outdoors."
"An' dat didn't bring nuttin'?" asked the other.
"Naw ! He tol' me he wuz doin' de same t'ing, and, besides,
had ter pay de doctor fur tellin' him to."
WHAT HE WANTED.
Doctor : "That last case has made me miss the dinner this
evening to hear the distinguished Professor Wood."
Wife: "Never mind, Doctor; the speeches will be published."
Doctor: "Yes, but the dinner won't."
NOTHING TO BRAG ABOUT.
"Wud yez look at that?" exclaimed Mrs. Nunon in just in-
dignation. " 'Washin' and ironin' done.' Shure, and she ain't
wan bit ahead av me. Oi've got me washin' and ironin' done,
too, but yez don't see me a-hangin' out a sign a-braggin' about it.'*
"What could be more sad than a man without a country?"
feelingly asked the high-school literature teacher of her class.
"A country without a man," promptly responded one of the
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS IJ^
SCRIPTURE INCIDENT REVERSED.
George Ade, automobiling in Indiana, dined at a country hotel
among a roomful of ministers. They were holding a convention
in the town, and were much amused when Mr. Ade's identity was
disclosed to them. During the dinner one of them said to him :
"How does a humorist of your stamp feel, sir, in such com-
pany as this?"
"I feel," said Mr. Ade, promptly, "like a lion in a den of
Daniels." — The Advance.
REVERSING THE ORDER.
The toastmaster arose to introduce a prominent speaker, and
"Gentlemen, you have just been giving your attention to a
turkey stuffed with sage, and now you will please give your at-
tention to a sage stuffed with turkey."
After suffering a long time with toothache, the young colored
girl got up enough courage to go to the dentist. The moment he
touched the tooth she began to scream.
"Look here," he said, "you mustn't yell like that. Don't you
know I'm a painless dentist?"
"Well, mebbe yo' is painless, sah," she said, rolling her eyes
in agony, "but Ah sho' isn't."
BOTH ON ANXIOUS-SEAT.
"What am de difference between an oV maid and a married
woman?" queried Sambo.
"I done gib it up," said Bones.
"Jes' dis," Sambo went on ; "de of maid am lookin' for a
husband ebery day, and de married woman am a-lookin' for him
78 WIT AND HUMOR
HARD ON THE BEES.
Up in Vermont Uncle Eph Kinney was looking over his field
of clover when a neighbor came along.
"Grass is awfully short this year, ain't it, Uncle Eph?" he
"Short!" cried the old man; "why, it's so short that the bum-
blebees hev to git down on their knees to suck the blossoms !"
LUCK WAS WITH HIM.
On the advice of a friend a book-agent called on a certain man
in a big office building. Several days later the agent met the
friend on the street.
"Hello, Rogers !" cheerfully greeted the latter, then, referring
to the call, asked: "Did you have any luck?"
"Well, I should say I did! I managed to escape from the
building before he sold me five hundred shares of mining stock."
SAME RESULT IN DIFFERENT WAYS.
Hallford: "Isn't there a fable about the ass disguising himself
with a lion's skin ?"
Cynic : "Yes ; but now the colleges do it with a sheepskin."
THE FINAL STEP.
Pat: "Marriage is loike making a call. Fir'rst, ye go to
adore ; then ye ring a belle ; and then ye give yer name to a maid."
Mike : "And then ye get taken in, begorra !"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 79
Every man should know something of law. If he knows enough to
keep out of it, he is a pretty good lawyer. — Josh Billings.
"Justice ! Justice ! I demand justice !" shrieked the defendant,
"Silence!" said the judge, sternly. "The defendant will please
remember he is in a court-room."
AN AWFUL SCRAP.
Puzzled Magistrate (to witness) : "Now, madam, please give
us your version of the fight."
Witness: "Well, if he'd 'a' hit him like he did him, he'd 'a'
killed him, or him him."
MAY HAVE BEEN TRUE.
"Now, Pat," said the judge to an old offender, "what brought
you here again?"
"Two policemen, sor," was the reply.
"Drunk, I suppose?" queried the judge, in a matter-of-fact
"Yes, sor," answered Pat, "both av thim."
NOT TO BE INSULTED.
"Are you the defendant in this case?" asked the judge of a
very black man.
"No, boss," was the reply, "I ain't done nothin' to be called
any sech name like dat. I'se the gen'leman as took de chickens,
80 WIT AND HUMOR
Two men were arraigned on a charge of violating the law.
"Have you an attorney?" asked the judge.
"We're not going to have any lawyer," was the surprising an-
swer; "we've decided to tell the truth."
NEARLY ALWAYS WORKS.
Judge O'Coogan : "Haven't you been here before?"
Astute Prisoner : "No, your Honor. Oi niver saw but wan
face that looked loike yours, and that was a photograph av an
Judge O'Coogan : "Discharged ! Call the nixt case."
FOR PHILADELPHIA LAWYER.
"So your wife nags you?" inquired the judge.
"Yes," said the blear-eyed man; "it's something fierce."
"Does she nag you because you drink, or do you drink because
she nags you?"
At this point technicalities began to creep in.
TOOK THE SAFE COURSE.
"Judge, why did you adjourn court for five minutes just now?"
"I felt as though I had to sneeze."
"Well, what of that?"
"I feared if I did sneeze on the bench some of the lawyers
would make that the basis for a new trial."
"Ignorance of the law," interposed the judge at a certain
juncture in a case, "is no excuse for violation of the law."
"May I inquire, your Honor," asked the prosecuting attorney,
"whether your remarks are directed at the defendant or his
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 8[
THE DIGGING WAS DIFFICULT.
The cross-examination of a Swede in a court case nearly
exhausted the patience of the lawyer who was plying him with
questions. The attorney was endeavoring to find out the man's
"Where do you work?" he began.
"Ay work in a factory."
"What kind of a factory is it?"
"It bane a very big factory."
"What do you do there?"
The witness seemed perplexed, so the lawyer asked him again:
"What do you make ?"
"Oh, yes ; Ay understand," he said, his face lighting up ; "Ay
make dollar and a half a day."
WORKED LIKE A CHARM.
An attorney, engaged in a case in which property of various
descriptions was involved, made a long, tedious speech, referring,
in detail, to each kind, putting nearly everybody to sleep. Finally,
changing his voice, he exclaimed to the judge :
"I will now address myself to the furniture."
"You have been doing that for some time, Mr. Harkinson,"
said the judge pleasantly, amid much laughter.
Another lawyer, who heard of this, stored it up in his mind
for future use, should he ever have a similar circumstance. In
the course of time he had a case in the same court, in which the
property involved was live stock. After he had been talking quite
awhile, he remarked with becoming dignity, as he faced the judge:
"I will now address myself to the donkey."
"You have been doing that for some time," was the prompt
response of the judge, followed by a roar of laughter, which
greatly pleased the judge until the reason for it dawned upon
82 WIT AND HUMOR
BAD EITHER WAY.
During reconstruction times a white man was arraigned before
a colored justice of the. peace for killing a man and stealing his
mule. It was in Arkansas, not far from the Texas border-line,
but the colored justice always endeavored to preserve an impartial
frame of mind.
"We's got two kinds ob law in dis yer co't," he said; "Texas
law and Arkansas law. Which will you hab?"
The prisoner thought a moment, then said he guessed he would
take the Arkansas law.
"Den I discharge you fo' stealin' de mule, and hang yo' fo'
killin' de man."
"Hold on a minute, Judge !" said the prisoner, much agitated,
"I'll take the Texas law."
"All right, sah. Den I fine you fo' killin' de man, and hang
you fo' stealin' de mule."
SUSPICIOUS OF BUT ONE.
A young attorney had been appointed to defend a negro who
was too poor to employ counsel. Eager for an acquittal, the
young lawyer challenged several jurors, who, he said, might have
a prejudice against his client.
"Are there any others?" he whispered to the negro.
"No, boss; but Ah wants you ter challenge dat judge. Ah's
been convicted undah him seberal times now, and Ah doan' wanter
take no chances dis time."
NOT AS BAD AS THEY LOOKED.
"You have a pretty tough-looking lot of customers to dispose
of this morning, haven't you?" remarked a friend of the judge
just before the opening of the police court.
"Huh!" rejoined the dispenser of justice. "You are looking
at the wrong bunch. Those are the lawyers."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 83
TOOK THE SENTENCE LITERALLY.
A clever young lawyer was defending a man accused of house-
breaking, says a London weekly.
"Your Honor, I submit that my client did not break into the
house at all. He found the parlor window open, inserted his right
arm and removed a few trifling articles. Now, my client's arm is
not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish him for an
offense committed only by one of his limbs."
"That argument," said the judge, "is very well put. Following
it logically, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprison-
ment. He can accompany it or not, just as he chooses."
The prisoner calmly unscrewed his cork arm, and, leaving it
in the dock, walked out.
ONE THING CALLS FOR ANOTHER.
"I understand," said the judge, "that you stole the watch of
the doctor who had just written a prescription for you at the
free dispensary. What have you to say for yourself?"
"Well, your Honor," replied the prisoner, "it is true, but I
found myself in a hole. His prescription said a teaspoonful every
hour, and I had no watch."
NOT WHAT HE EXPECTED.
"Did your father give you no parting admonition?" asked the
attorney in a disputed will case.
"He never gave much away at any time."
"I mean, what were his last words?"
"They don't particularly concern you."
"They not only concern me, sir," sternly remarked the attorney,
"but they concern the whole court."
"Well," was the reply, "father said to have no trouble about
the property if we could help it, as lawyers are the biggest thieves
84 WIT AND HUMOR
ADVICE WAS FOLLOWED.
The judge of a police court, wishing to assist and encourage a
young lawyer of his acquaintance, spoke to him privately just
before opening court one morning, and said :
"See that man in charge of the officer back near the door to
my office? Well, he's got in trouble of some kind. You go with
him into my room, learn all about the case, and then give him the
kind of advice you think he needs."
Later the young attorney emerged from the room, and, after
the other cases had been disposed of, the judge conferred with
him, asking the result of the interview.
"Following your suggestion," responded the new legal light,
"I got all the facts, then advised him to lose no time getting out
of your office window. It seemed perfectly agreeable to him,
for he immediately took my advice."
WHY THEY SMILED ALOUD.
"Have you ever appeared as a witness in a suit before?" the
lawyer asked the timid young woman.
"Yes, sir, of course," she said, blushing.
"Please state to the jury what suit it was."
"It was a nun's veiling, shirred down the front, with a lovely
blue hat to match, and — "
"Order in the court!" cried the judge, rapping vigorously.
VERY LIKELY NOT.
During a trial in Philadelphia an attorney put the following
question to a witness :
"Was it the defendant's habit to talk to himself when alone?"
The witness was in a deep study for a moment or so, and then
cautiously replied :
"Just at present I can't recall ever being with him when he
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 85
DID THE JUDGE MEAN IT?
By some unaccountable mistake thirteen men filed toward the
jury-box when the case was about to be tried, and after twelve
of them had taken the twelve seats, the judge said to the one
"What is your name?"
"James C. Branes," was the reply.
"Mr. Bailiff," said the judge, "take this man back to the com-
missioners and tell them we can not use him, as we already have
twelve men without Branes."
HARD TO COVER UP.
One day when an old lawyer was practicing in the courts, he
didn't like the ruling of the judge. A second time, when the
judge ruled against him, he got up with scarlet face and quiver-
ing lips, and commenced tying up his papers, as if to leave the
"Do I understand," said the judge, eyeing him closely, "that
you wish to show your contempt for this court?"
"No, sir," replied the attorney, "I don't want to show my con-
tempt, sir; I'm trying to conceal it."
WOULD BE WORTH SEEING.
A man who was called upon to testify in a suit as to the
number of cubic yards handled in some rock which was being
removed, showed very little knowledge of the matter. In order
to facilitate his understanding, the judge said:
"Assume this inkstand to be three feet across the top this way,
and three feet that way, and three feet in height, what would
you call it?"
"Well, your Honor," said the witness in a tone of deep con-
viction, "I'd say it was sure some inkstand."
86 WIT AND HUMOR
ONE FOR THE MULE.
The fifth day drew to its close with the twelfth juryman still
unconvinced. The court was impatient.
"Well, gentlemen," said the court officer, entering the jury-
room, "shall I, as usual, order twelve dinners?"
"Make it," said the foreman, "eleven dinners and a bale of
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 87
A man has no more right to say an uncivil thing to another man than
to knock him down. — Johnson.
HE USED THE SOFT PEDAL.
A neat compliment was paid by a French ambassador in Lon-
don to a peeress, who had been talking to him for an hour. The
"You must think I am very fond of the sound of my voice."
"I knew you liked music," the Frenchman replied.
An Irish political club in Chicago had just organized and
elected a president, two directors and a secretary. Thereupon
O'Flaherty got up and remarked :
"We have elected our officers and directors. The thing we
need most around here is a cuspidor — in fact, we ought to have
two of them."
A brother member promptly took the floor and said :
"I think Mr. O'Flaherty's suggistion about the cuspidors is in
order, and I nominate him for wan av thim."
A few days after a farmer had sold a pig to a neighbor he
chanced to pass his place, and saw the man's little boy sitting on
the edge of the pig-pen watching its new occupant.
"How d'ye do, Johnny?" said he. "How's your pig to-day?"
"Oh, pretty well, thank you," replied the boy. "How's all
88 WIT AND HUMOR
HIS TACT SAVED HIM.
Discovering that he was standing on a lady's train at a pop-
ular reception, a man had the presence of mind to follow his
apology by saying courteously :
"Though I may not have the power to draw an angel from the
sky, I see I have pinned one to the earth."
The lady very graciously excused him.
GRACIOUS IN RETURN.
In Richmond, Va., a boyish-looking fellow offered his seat in
a crowded car to an old lady who wore a blue-and-red Confeder-
ate flag pinned on her breast. She said, graciously :
"It is easy to see what part of the country you came from,"
immediately crediting the action to the South.
The young man's faced glowed as he took off his hat.
"Permit me to thank you," he said, bashfully, but fervently,
"in the name of Vermont."
UNCOMMON THESE DAYS.
The man arose and gave his seat to a girl in the street-car.
"Oh, thank you most kindly, sir," she said, with a smile.
"Don't mind what she says," explained a sad-faced woman;
"I'm taking her to a sanitarium."
GLAD TO BE UP AGAIN.
A young lady entered a crowded car with a pair of skates over
her arm. An elderly gentleman arose to give her his seat.
"Thank you very much," she said, "but I've been skating all
the afternoon, and I'm tired of sitting down."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 89
He was a lover of the good old school,
Who still become more ardent as they cool. — Byron.
NO DOUBT TOUCHED HIS HEART.
They had been engaged fifteen years, and still he had not
mustered courage enough to ask her to name the wedding-day.
One evening when he called he was in a meditative frame of
mind, and asked her to sing something tender and touching. She
responded, and with much feeling sang, as she played her own
accompaniment, "Darling, I am growing old."
"Ah," he sighed, "if you would only give me the least
"Gracious !" interrupted the heartless flirt, "I've given you the
least I ever gave any man."
Miss Hemple: "When we are married we must have no
secrets from each other. You must tell me everything."
Mr. Irvington : "But — er — really, I don't know everything."
SECONDARY TO HIM.
"Chauncey, I have something to confess. I feel guilty for not
telling you before, but feared you would not like it. I am a
"Don't worry about that for a moment," said he. "I'm a Pres-
byterian, but when we are married you can attend any church you
90 WIT AND HUMOR
ALL IN ONE BOUQUET.
She : "Oh, Fred, dear, you are so noble, so generous, so hand-
some, so chivalrous, so much the superior of every man I meet,
I just can't help loving you. Now, what do you see in plain little
me to admire?"
"Why, dear, for one thing, you surely have good judgment."
ELSE HOW DID HE KNOW?
Polly, to her sister's admirer: "Guess what father said about
you last night."
Adolph: "Oh, I couldn't guess, really."
Polly: "I'll give you a peach if you can guess."
Adolph, flustered: "Why, Polly, I haven't an idea in the
Polly : "Urr ! You was listening ! !"
LIGHT AND DARKNESS.
Mary had a little lamp;
It was well trained, no doubt,
For every time her fellow called,
The little lamp went out.
SHOWING HIM HOW.
"What a fine-looking dog, Miss Alice !" exclaimed her bashful
admirer. "Is he affectionate?"
"Yes, indeed. Here, Bruno! Come, good doggie, and show
Charlie how to kiss me."
TRUTHFUL YOUNG MAN.
"What is your reason for wishing to marry my daughter?"
the father of the girl inquired when the young man came to ask
"I have no reason, sir," said the prospective son-in-law ; "I am
in love with her,"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 91^
DIDN'T WANT TO LOSE HIM.
Jeruda: "Aftah we's married we'll hab chicken fo' dinnah
ebery day, deary."
Matilda : "Oh, you honey ! But I wouldn't ask you to run no
sech risks jes' fo' my sake."
JUDGED BY OTHER CASES.
May: "You seem to like Fred's attentions. Why don't you
"For that very reason," replied Pearl.
"I don't understand," said May, perplexed.
"Why, because I like his attentions, of course."
HE NEEDED IT.
"Writing to Charlie, I suppose?"
"Yes, poor fellow."
"Why, I thought he was engaged."
"He was, but he wrote me that his girl had thrown him over-
board, so I'm dropping him a line."
KNEW HIS DAUGHTER.
"Does your father know that I asked you to marry me?" in-
quired the young man.
"Yes, I told him myself."
"Did he express himself in any way?"
"Oh, yes, indeed. He smiled and said, 'Brave boy!'"
"JOHNNY ON THE SPOT."
"Who gave the bride away?" asked Mrs. Evans of her daugh-
ter, who had just returned from the wedding.
"Her little brother. He stood right up in the middle of the
ceremony and yelled: 'Hurrah, Blanche! You've got him at
92 WIT AND HUMOR
WHEN NOT RESPONSIBLE.
"I dreamed last night that I proposed to you," said a flippant
young man; "I wonder what that's a sign off?"
Miss Waite, desperately: "It's a sign you've got more sense
asleep than when you're awake."
AS MOTHER SAW IT.
"What did your mother say when you confessed to her that
you loved me?"
"She said that I must take it from father's side of the house —
that there has never been any insanity in her family."
TIME TO START.
"Would you like to take a nice, long walk?" she asked.
"Why, I'd love to," replied the young man caller, joyously.
"Well, don't let me detain you," she said, sweetly.
IT CAME TO PASS.
"Be mine !" he cried in a voice surcharged with anguish. "If
you refuse me, I shall die."
But the heartless girl refused him. That was sixty years ago.
Yesterday he died. — Tit-Bits.
A SINGLE HANDICAP.
Father: "If it were not for one thing, that new admirer of
yours might be regarded as a very intelligent young man."
Daughter (hopefully) : "And what is that?"
"Your daughter has promised to become my wife."
"Well, don't come to me for sympathy. You might know
something would happen to you, hanging around here five nights
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 93
ENTIRELY TOO AGREEABLE.
They had been engaged only a few weeks, but a little coolness
had arisen between them.
"There is nothing that makes me so angry," she cried, with
tears of rage in her blue eyes, "as to have any one contradict me.
I just simply hate to be contradicted by any one."
"Well," he said in a conciliatory tone, "I won't do it any more."
"I don't believe you love me much, anyway," she asserted.
"I don't," he readily admitted.
"You are a perfectly hateful thing, so you are !"
"I know it."
"You are trying to tease me, aren't you?"
She was silent a short time, then said: "Well, I certainly do
despise a man who is weak enough to let a woman dictate to him.
A man ought to have a mind of his own." — Harper's Magazine.
GOT A TREASURE.
"Why are you so silent?" he asked; "you haven't said scarcely
a word for ten minutes."
"I didn't have anything to say," she replied.
With a hopeful gleam in his eye he quickly asked : "Don't you
ever say anything when you have nothing to say?"
"Why, no, of course not," she answered.
"Then, will you be my wife?"
HE WASN'T FOR SALE.
"So many men marry for money," she said. "You wouldn't
marry me for money, would you, Harry?"
"No," said Harry, who had never proposed ; "I wouldn't marry
you for all the money in the world."
And he was amazed when she cried out: "Oh, you horrid,
horrid wretch !"
94 WIT AND HUMOR
JUST TO PLEASE ARTHUR.
She sailed into the telegraph office and rapped on the counter,
says the Youth' c Companion. As the clerk came forward he re-
membered she had been there about ten minutes before. He
wondered what she wanted this time.
"Oh," she said, "let me have that telegram, will you, please?
I forgot something. I want to underscore 'perfectly lovely' in
acknowledging receipt of that bracelet. Will it cost anything
"No, ma'am ; all for the same price."
As she drew two heavy lines beneath each of the words she
said, sweetly: "It's awfully good of you to let me do that. It will
please Arthur ever so much."
THE BAIT THAT CAUGHT.
He jsed to dance with Annie,
She waltzed with fairy grace;
He used to drive with Fannie,
She'd such a pretty face ;
He used to call on Clara,
She always praised his book ;
But he finally married Mary,
For she knew how to cook. — Pittsburgh Press.
HER GOOD PLAY.
He, as the team goes by: "Look! There goes Ruggles, the
half-back. He'll soon be our best man."
She, grabbing his arm : "Oh, Jack ! This is so sudden !"
HAD BEEN PUT TO THE TEST.
"So you want to marry my daughter, eh? Do you consider
yourself able to support her?"
"Well, after a fellow has bought candy and flowers for a girl
for a year, and has taken her to the theater twice a week, and is
still not broke, I guess he can afford to get married."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 95
A Boston lady had been expecting her cook to be married for
some time, as the man she apparently loved was a steady caller.
Finally, moved by curiosity, she inquired :
"When are you to be married, Nora?"
"Indade, it looks like as never, mum," was the sad reply.
"Really? What's the trouble?"
"Tis this, mum: I won't marry Mike when he's drunk, and
he won't marry me when he's sober."
HAD BEEN EXPECTING IT.
One evening the young minister, who had seemed rather at-
tracted by Grace, the oldest daughter, was dining with the family.
Mamie, the little sister, was talking rapidly when the visitor was
about to ask the blessing. Turning to the child, he said in a
"Mamie, I am going to ask grace."
"Well, it's about time," promptly answered the little girl;
"we've been expecting it nearly a year, and she has too."
CAUSE OF THE DELAY.
The newspaper humorist went courting. He stayed so late
that the man of the house called down to his daughter:
"Phyllis, has the morning paper come yet?"
"No, sir," answered the funny man ; "we are holding the form
for an important decision."
And the father, completely squelched, went back to bed.
DANGER TO THE LAST.
Eunice: "I'm to be married next week, and I'm terribly
Harriet: "I suppose there is a chance of the man getting
away up to the last minute."
96 WIT AND HUMOR
ONE AS BAD AS THE OTHER.
Irate Father: "No, you can't have her. I won't tolerate a
son-in-law with no more brains than to want to marry a girl with
no more sense than my daughter has manifested in allowing you
to think you could get her."
ALWAYS SOMETHING TO LEARN.
"Ah, my dear," said the backward young man to his sweetheart
as they stopped in front of the bear's cage at the zoo, "many use-
ful lessons we may learn from animals."
"Yes, indeed; especially the bear," she replied.
"What lesson can we learn from the bear?" he asked, wonder-
"Oh, he's so fond of hugging, you know."
A CLASH OF WITS.
He: "I love you."
She: "But I haven't a cent in the world."
He: "Excuse me, you didn't allow me to finish. I love you
She: "So! I only wanted to try you. I have a fortune of
He: "Yes, but you interrupted me again. I love you not for
your money's sake."
She: "Well, I'm so glad, for that was only a joke about the
$50,000."— Bo st on Transcript.
OUGHT TO PLEASE HER.
She : "Before I give you my answer I must know about you.
Have you a high ambition? Are you aiming at anything worth
He (smiling); "You seem to have a very poor opinion ol
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 97
POOR MOTIVE POWER.
"Your dad is an old crank," said the youth who had been told
oy his sweetheart's father that eleven o'clock was time to go.
Dad overheard the remark, and retorted:
"A crank is necessary in case of no self-starter."
FOR SAKE OF BREVITY.
Flo was fond of Ebenezer —
Eb, for short, she called her beau.
Talk of "tide of love;" great Caesar!
You should see 'em Eb and Flo.
— Cornell Widow.
After some trme came a daughter;
Name: Hemina — and she saw
And wed a man whose name was Hawley;
You should see 'em Hem and Haw.
— Milwaukee Sentinel.
BROUGHT HIM TO TIME.
"I know what's passing in your mind" said the maiden of
astute methods. "I know, too, why you are calling here night
after night, appropriating my time to yourself, and keeping other
nice young men away. You want to marry me, don't you?"
"I — I do!" gasped the astonished young man.
"I thought so. Very well, I will."
JUST SUITED THEM.
Near one of the well-known Massachusetts cities is a big,
park-like estate owned by a man who has posted all sorts of warn-
ing signs on his place. One evening he encountered a couple of
lovers taking a walk on his property.
"Can't you read that sign there?" he demanded, with a growl.
"Yes," said the young man, "it says, 'Private,' and that's just
why we came in here."
98 WIT AND HUMOR
Any one who is as wise as a serpent can afford to be as harmless
as a dove. — Josh Billings.
HIS BRIGHT IDEA.
Young Chelsea started off jubilantly to his first party, after
promising his mother that he would decline, if offered, anything
to eat the second time. When refreshments were served, his
hostess, observing how eagerly he disposed of his ice-cream, said :
"Won't you have some more, Chelsea?"
The boy looked up wistfully, replying: "I promised mamma
I wouldn't accept the second time; but if you ask me the third
time I guess it would be all right."
"You say you are from London ? That makes you a London-
ite, don't it? By the way, have you another of those cigars?"
"Certainly ! By the way myself, you say you are from Paris ?"
BILL ABOUT DUE.
A conceited sort of man was dining with some friends, and
when the bill was presented he said to the landlady:
"Madam, I am going to give you a lesson in astronomy. In
twenty-five million years all things must return to their original
condition. We shall all be here again eating a dinner precisely
identical. Will you give us credit until we come back?"
"Well," she replied, with an air of thoughtfulness, "you were
here twenty-five million years ago, and you left without paying
your bill then. Settle that account, and I will trust you for what
you had to-day."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 99
WOULD AFFORD RELIEF.
"Can I be of any assistance?" asked the passing motorist of
an irritated man who was trying to change a tire while his wife
stood by and gave numerous suggestions.
"Yes," replied the man aside, hopefully, "my wife is an en-
thusiastic suffragist. Just talk to her about the cause until I get
this tire on and ready to start."
"Dear, oh, dear !" said the girl, "I've bruised my lip. Mother
used- always to kiss a hurt place to make it well."
"And did that make it well?" inquired the young man.
"I don't remember particularly, but those old-fashioned rem-
edies are often very good."
He was a very generous-hearted fellow, immediately applying
the remedy, without cost.
PUT HER TO THE TEST.
Two little girls were seated before a plate containing two
bunches of grapes — one a large, perfect bunch, the other small
and somewhat green. After an oppressive silence Vida said to
the other: "Is 'oo gweedy?"
"No," Carrie assured her, "I'se not one bit gweedy."
"Then," said Vida, much relieved, " 'oo choose."
DIDN'T FLUSTER HER.
The mother was at the boiling-point. It was evident something
had happened, for she approached her daughter, saying, sternly:
"They tell me Ralph actually kissed you at the depot when he
went away. And what did you do, then?"
"I only acted sensibly, mother," replied the girl, calmly. "So
as to make everybody think he was a relative, and to prevent talk,
I kissed him too."
rOO WIT AND HUMOR
OUT OF THE WAY.
"When Tom got home from his education," said Farmer Wil-
litts, "he began right away instructin' me about agriculture. So
I didn't lose no time to try him out."
"What did you do?"
"Sent him out to round up a swarm of bees."
"Was the experiment successful?"
"Partly. It didn't hurt the bees none, and it kept Tom from
gettin' in the way for nigh on to two weeks."
NOTHING TO TAKE BACK.
"Sir," said a woman angrily as she stepped up to Mr. Leach,
"I understand you said I had a face that would stop a street-car
in the middle of the block."
For an instant the man felt he had been cornered, and red-
dened suspiciously, but quickly regained himself and said : "Par-
don my embarrassment, madam, but, now that you've asked me,
I must tell the truth. It takes an unusually handsome face to
induce a motorman to make a stop where he doesn't have to."
DIDN'T TAKE LONG. _
One of the guests at an undergraduates' party sang a song very
much out of tune. Then a minister was called upon.
"I'm out of voice," said he.
"Well, if you can't sing, you must make a speech or tell a
"If I must tell a story," said he, with a twinkle of the eye, "I
should say I would like to hear our friend sing that song again !"
"Why is it, Bob," asked George of a very stout friend, "that
you fat fellows are always good-natured?"
"We have to be. You see, we can't either fight or run."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 101
HAD A WORKABLE SYSTEM.
Neighbor: "I suppose you don't allow war talk among your
Mistress: "Oh, yes. You see, our biggest eater gets so in-
terested that he forgets to eat, and our next biggest eater gets so
mad that he leaves the table before the meal is half over."
AFTER THE ENGAGEMENT.
She : "The diamond in this ring is awfully small."
He: "I told the jeweler it was for the smallest hand in
Then she looked at him with mingled love and perplexity.
AN EVEN MATCH.
"Here comes Walker. He's got a new baby, and he'll simply
talk us to death."
"Well, here comes a neighbor of mine who has a new setter
dog. We'll introduce them and leave them to their fate."
MET THE EMERGENCY.
Peddler: "I'm selling a most valuable book, madam. It tells
how to do nearly everything."
Lady (sarcastically) : "Does it tell how to get rid of a pester-
"Oh, yes, certainly. Buy something from him."
"Why don't you buy something at my table?" inquired the girl
at the bazaar.
"Because I only buy from the homely girls," said the man.
"They have a harder time making sales."
The girl smiled ; and he went on, working the same excuse all
down the line.
J02 WIT AND HUMOR
YOUNG WIFE WAS WISE.
Entering a butcher-shop on the eve of a large house-party to
be given at her home, a young matron saw displayed a dozen
"Please pick out six chickens that are tough," she said ; "I have
a special reason for requesting it."
Instead of half a dozen, the butcher laid seven aside.
"Are these all?" she asked.
"Yes, lady, these are all tough ones," he replied.
"Then please send the other five to my house right away."
METHOD IN HER PLANS.
Mrs. Deppen: "I'm inviting the Selles to meet the Harrisons
here at dinner, and the Harrisons to meet the Selles. We owe
them both, you know."
Mr. Deppen: "But I heard, just yesterday, that they've quar-
reled, and don't speak."
Mrs. Deppen: "That's true. They'll refuse all around, of
course, and we won't have to give a dinner at all."
CANDIDATE FOR WALL STREET.
Perry stood beside his mother as she made her selection from
the gardener's wagon, and the man told the boy to take a hand-
ful of cherries, but he shook his head.
"What's the matter? Don't you like them?" inquired the man.
, "Yes, sir."
"Then go ahead and take some."
Perry hesitated, whereupon the man put a generous handful
in the boy's cap.
After the gardener drove on the mother asked: "Why didn't
you take the cherries when he told you to?"
With a knowing smile the boy answered: "Because his hand
was bigger'n mine."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [03
BREAKING THE NEWS.
O'Brien: "So Crane was killed intirely by the explosion?
And who broke the news to his widdy?"
Downing: "Big Jim Cassidy."
"Did he do it gintly, and by degrays?"
"Trooth he did that. He began by askin' her if she would
consider a proposal av marriage by him."
VERY NEAR THE BRINK.
Hearing nothing below, the husband called down to his wife :
"Has that old gossip gone yet?"
The woman was still there. Mrs. Horn, however, was equal
to the emergency.
"Yes, dear," she answered; "she left nearly half an hour ago.
Mrs. Corbin is here now."
It was her first voyage, and she had made herself disliked by
the officers because of her many foolish questions. It fell to the
lot of the steward to silence her.
"Doesn't this ship tip a good deal, sir?" she asked that
"Perhaps it does, madam; it is no doubt trying to set a good
example to the passengers."
GAVE A SAFE ANSWER.
After recess the teacher asked if any of the scholars had lost
"Please, sir, I did," called out one of the boys.
"Ah, Gustave, where did you lose it?" kindly inquired the
"Please, sir, it must have been where you found it."
KM WIT AND HUM OR
KNEW HE WAS SAFE.
Mrs. Hueling owned a pet dog of a vicious temper. It had
gone so far as to bite her husband on several occasions. One
day, much to the wife's sorrow, the dog disappeared. Her hus-
band promptly offered $100 for its return. His friends were as-
tonished, and one of them said to him : "I thought you hated that
"I do," he readily admitted.
"Then, why do you offer such a large reward?"
"To please my wife."
"But you're foolish. Such a reward will be sure to bring it
"Not much !" exclaimed the man, with a chuckle. "You see, I
happen to know that the dog is dead."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 105
If we cry, like children, for the moon, like children we must cry on.— '
COULD NOT BE PENETRATED.
A Swede named Nelson, who had been pounded up by a bully,
was on the witness-stand.
"What position were you in when he struck you?" asked the
"Ay ain't got no position. Ay bane out o' work some time."
"No, no ! Where were you when he hit you ?"
The court waited patiently, several minutes it seemed, while
Nelson was getting his thoughts together. Looking at the at-
torney, he said slowly : "Well, - \y was on my back."
ADDING INSULT TO REFUSAL.
"Well, did he pay you?" inquired the wife of a dentist, who
had gone to collect a bill for a full set of teeth he had made for
a man nearly a year before.
"Pay me!" growled the dentist. "Not only did he refuse to
pay me, but he actually had the effrontery to gnash at me — with
my teeth !"
An old Scotchwoman had gone a long way to see a sick friend.
"An' hoo are ye the day, Mrs. Crawford ?" she asked in almost
"Oh, I'm quite weel the noo, thank ye, Mrs. Callum."
"Quite weel," exclaimed the other, "an' after me haein' come
sae far to see ye !"
J06 WIT AND HUMOR
"One night," said the young actor, "I played the part of Ham-
let, and a lot of people in the audience shouted out, 'Fine ! Fine l'
"No doubt," smilingly interrupted a listener, "it made you
feel pretty good."
"Yes," was the reply, with a reminiscent smile, "until a heavy
voice vociferously added: 'Make it fine and imprisonment!'"
THE SALARY TOO SMALL.
The cashier of a bank tells this incident:
"The teacher of a little rural school came in with an order
for a month's salary. I handed her the amount in paper money,
and apologized for giving her the soiled bills, remarking that I
had forgotten, for the instant, that teachers were afraid of
"No cause for worry in this case," said she somewhat despond-
ently; "no germs could live on my salary."
BOY TOO MUCH FOR HIM.
A traveling-man thought he would have some fun at the ex-
pense of a country boy he saw hoeing corn by the roadside,
"You won't get much corn from that field, will you?"
"We don't expect much; planted it on shares," said the boy,
as he leaned on the hoe-handle.
"But it looks small and yellow."
"We planted the small, yaller kind."
The traveling-man was getting desperate and blurted out:
• "There isn't much difference between you and a fool, is
"Just the fence," the boy calmly replied as he resumed his
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [07
JUST FOR PRACTICE.
Merchant to Traveling Salesman : "No, nothing to-day. We're
"Very well; but won't you just look at my samples?"
"Not a bit of use. Too busy, anyway."
"Well, then, see here !" said the traveling-man, "do you mind
if I take the blessed things out and look at them myself? Ac-
tually, I haven't seen them for three weeks."
PAT'S VIEW OF IT.
The car was crowded, and Pat was obliged to steady himself
against the door.
"Move up!" shouted the conductor at every street, as more
passengers were taken on. Pat moved up a step each time, but
at last got mad and yelled back at the conductor :
"Bedad, I paid to ride; and do yez expect me to walk all the
FAR OVER THE SEA.
"You ought to be contented and not fret for your old home,"
said the mistress, as she looked into the dim eyes of her young
Swedish maid. "You are earning good wages, your work is light,
every one is kind to you, and you have plenty of friends here."
"Yas'm," said the girl, sadly, "but it isn't the place where I
do be that makes me so homesick ; it's the place where I don't be."
— Youth's Companion.
AN AWFUL COME-DOWN.
One of the stories that President Wilson liked to tell, accord-
ing to the New York Tribune, was of a small boy in a crowd at
Staunton, Va., where the President was addressing a throng
from the steps of the Baldwin Seminary for Girls. The boy
had shoved and pushed his way to the front, until he stood
J08 WIT AND HUMOR
squarely before the distinguished speaker, and shouted out:
"Where is it? Where is it?"
Mr. Wilson stopped his speech and said, good-naturedly:
"Well, my boy, I guess I'm it."
"Pshaw!" responded the youngster, with a look of utter dis-
gust ; "I thought it was a dog-fight !"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 109
It is a sad house where the hen crows louder than the cock. — Italian
Husband: "You have a wonderful voice."
Wife: "Do you really think so?"
"Yes, indeed. If not, it would have been worn out long ago."
"You are just as mean as you can be," she said to him during
their first lovers' quarrel, but after they were married she was
sure she had been mistaken.
Abbott: "A fool and his money are soon parted."
Mrs. Abbott (joyfully) : "Oh, John ! You are so good ! How
much are you going to give me?"
HER IDEA OF BLISS.
"I suppose your daughter is happily married?"
"Indeed she is. Why, her husband is actually afraid to open
his mouth in her presence."
ALL IN POLITICS.
"My daughter is the initiative and my wife is the referendum,"
said the supposed head of the house."
Visitor: "And where do you come in?"
"Oh, I'm the recall. They recall my existence whenever the
bills come in."
110 WIT AND HUMOR
BOUND TO ROAST HIM.
Sometimes Weatherby and his wife enjoyed the evening to-
gether without a ripple. Other times they would spat a little.
She had been cross on one occasion, and he was inclined to be
peaceable that evening, so, after reading a short time, he re-
"I see they have more proof that we all sprang from monkeys."
"Well," said she, crustily, "don't you worry, John Henry
Weatherby ! You didn't spring very far."
BOY WAS OBSERVING.
Mrs. Jenkins : "Do you know, husband, that you talk in your
Ten-year-old Son (who has just been silenced) : "What
other chance does he get, I'd like to know?"
HAD THE DATE FIXED.
"The war began the very day we were married," remarked
"You have nothing on other married men there," commented
a meek-looking man in the corner.
BOTH AGAINST HUBBY.
"Some dogs have almost human intelligence," said the
"I agree with you," responded Hamer. "I often think our
pet dog tries to curry favor with my wife by growling at me."
JUST ORDINARY WEAPONS.
Judge : "Describe what passed between you in the quarrel with
Witness: "The plates and cups were regular dinner size, your
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS m
HIS CRUEL STRATEGY.
Wife : "I want to see that letter this minute !"
Husband (apparently becoming nervous) : "What letter?"
Wife: "That one you just opened. I know that's the hand-
writing of some woman, and you turned pale when you read it.
Hand it to me right away!"
With inward glee, but outward calm, he did so. It was the
bill from her dressmaker.
WHAT SQUELCHED HIM.
"It takes a woman to do fool things," said the husband with
an air of importance.
"It certainly does," agreed his wife ; "but I never saw one buy
a bottle of hair-restorer from a bald-headed barber."
FORETELLING A STORM.
"I can read my wife like a book."
"Quite wonderful. Tell me about it."
"It's this way. Whenever she's cold toward me I know she is
going to make it hot for me."
TRUE IN MANY CASES.
"Pa, a man's wife is his better half, isn't she?"
"We are told so, my son."
"Then, if a man marries twice there isn't' apt to be much of
anything left of him, is there?"
HIS TURN TO RULE.
He was fond of quotations, and said to his wife one evening:
"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Don't forget
"Then, you step over here and rule the world awhile. I'm
tired," said she.
U2 WIT AND HUMOR
HUSBAND KNEW HER WAYS.
Judge: "When your wife seized the weapon you ran out of
the house, you say?"
Plaintiff: "Yes, sir; that's what I did."
Judge : "But she might not have used it."
Plaintiff : "True, your Honor. Perhaps she just picked up the
flatiron to smooth things over a bit."
"I hear you ca-a-lling me," warbled the daughter from the
"Yes," sang the mother from the kitchen, "I want you to come
here and help me with the di-i-ss-shes !"
Profound silence followed.
DELUSIONS FOR ALL.
Anderson : "I wonder if Dr. Cook really thought he discovered
the North Pole?"
Nelson: "Possibly. We all make mistakes. Why, when I
was first married I thought sure I had discovered Paradise."
IT WAS CHEAPER SINGLE.
"Before we were married," complained the wife, "you used
to send around a dozen roses every week."
"That was dead easy. This week I am sending around a rib
roast and two tons of coal."
NOT TO BE DISTURBED.
"What's all that racket in the hall?" called the professor
from his study.
"One of the children fell downstairs," his wife answered.
"Well, tell them if they can't be quiet about it, they've got
to stop it."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS H3
NO CHANCE TO TELL.
Meeting a negro of his acquaintance, a Southern gentleman
asked how he was getting along. With a troubled air the negro
"Well, so far's physicality goes, I'se all right, but I sure do
hab troubles wif my wife. All de time she, keeps pesterin' me
fer money, money, money. If it ain't a dollah, it's a half or a
quatah she wants."
"What on earth does she do with so much money?"
"Oh, Ah ain't done gone gib her none yet," said the negro, as
he shuffled on his way.
My wife is like a honey-bee —
But while it gathers honey,
She cajoles me with honey words,
And stings me for my money. — Judge.
Two men from Ireland had met and were talking over old
"And so your name is Riley ?" said one. "Are yez any relation
to Tim Riley?"
"A distant relation," was the reply. "Oi wuz me mither's
first child, and Tim was the fourteenth."
HAD TO GIVE IT UP.
Two men were lunching together at a club, when one of them
"Why on earth do you let your wife go around saying she
made a man of you ? My wife never says anything like that about
"No; but I've heard her say she tried her hardest, but that
it was no use."
114 WIT AND HUMOR
SHREWD YOUNG WIFE.
They had been married but a few days when the young wife
said proudly to her husband :
"I'm going to start right in taking an interest in everything,
so as to be a real help to you, dear. Now, just to-day I arranged
to get our ice from a new man."
"Why, what's wrong with the other one?" the husband in-
"Well, it's this way. The new dealer says he will give us
colder ice for just the same money."
GRATEFUL FOR REFUSAL.
"Will you let me off this afternoon?" said a clerk in a dry-
goods store. "My wife wants me to beat some carpets."
"Couldn't possibly do it," said the boss.
"Thank you, sir; thank you a thousand times," said the clerk
as he joyfully returned to his work.
WANTED ONLY PRAISE.
"George," said the wife to her husband, whom she thought
unappreciative much of the time, "how do you like my new hat?"
"Well, dear," he began, candidly, "to tell you the truth — "
"Stop right there, George! If you're going to talk that way
about it, I don't want to hear a word from you !"
HIS FIRST THOUGHT.
An elderly German and his wife were much given to disput-
ing. One day, after an especially unpleasant squabble, the woman
remarked, with a sigh :
"Veil, I vish I vas in heafen."
"Und I vish I vas in a beer garden!" retorted her husband.
"Ach !" cried the wife ; "always you try to pick out de best for
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS MS
"One of my daughters has tonsilitis," said Cooper, with an
air of self-pity, "and the other has sprained her wrist."
"Certainly hard luck," commiserated his friend.
"Yes," continued the growler, "nothing works out right. The
one who sprained her wrist sings, and the one with the sore
throat plays the piano."
WANTED ONE AT HOME.
A man took his wife to a doctor, who put a thermometer in
her mouth and told her to keep it shut for two or three minutes.
When departing, the husband said to the physician, aside:
"Doctor, what'll you take for that thing? I've never seen my
wife keep her mouth shut that long before since we were married."
FOUND A QUICK REMEDY.
"Does your wife ever grieve because she threw over a wealthy
man to marry you ?" queried Houger.
"Well, she started it once," was the reply, "but I cured her of
it mighty quick. I started right in grieving with her, and I
grieved harder and longer than she did."
KNEW HOW TO PLEASE HER.
Husband: "I don't see how Mrs. Howenstein can appear so
well satisfied with her husband. He never kisses her, or seems
to show any mark of affection."
Wife: "Maybe not, but he gives her spending-money without
ever asking her what under the sun she is going to do with it all."
VERY UNKIND WISH.
Husband, at breakfast: "I've a very bad head this morning."
Wife : "I'm sorry, dear. I do hope you'll be able to shake it
off before long."
116 WIT AND HUMOR
ALL RIGHT, WHEN EXPLAINED.
A hardware merchant took a traveling salesman home to din-
ner with him, and after the meal, while they were seated in the
parlor for a little chat, the stranger remarked, appreciatingly :
"That was a splendid dinner, and everything so nice about it
"Yes, it's that way all the time here."
"Well, how do you manage it? We have an awful time get-
ting a good cook at our house."
"I'll give you a little secret," said the merchant. "I frequently
kiss the cook, and sometimes hold her on my knee. That keeps
her in good humor, you see."
"Why, man! You don't mean it?"
"Certainly. Why not? My wife's the cook."
KEPT HIM ON THE GO.
"Your husband," said the caller, sympathizingly, "was a man
of excellent qualities."
"Yes," sighed the widow, "he was a good man. Everybody
says so. I wasn't much acquainted with him myself. You see,
he belonged to six or seven lodges, and two or three clubs."
ENTITLED TO NEW ONES.
Baggot had noticed that his wife no longer called her gloves
kids, but goats, and, when he could control his curiosity not
another day, he asked her:
"What new-fangled idea have you women got now, I'd like to
With a smile, the very sweetness of which completely disarmed
him, she replied:
"Mine are getting so old I'm ashamed to call them kids any
He took the hint.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS H7
WANTED— A WIFE.
Mrs. Fred Spreen, in Grit, says James O. Baldwin, husky lad,
wants to marry very bad. He is fifty, six-feet, strong; lived at
Caldwell, Jersey, long. Couldn't find a wife at home, so he sings
this little po'm :
"Wanted — Wife to clean and scrub, mend my socks and cook
the grub. Must be handsome, bright and gay, thirty-two if she's
a day. Widow woman not deterred — one kid, maybe, none pre-
ferred. She must have some cash to spend ; an intellect with
learned trend. She must be a music lover; fond of me, and nary
other. That is what my wife must be — lum-te-dum-te-deedle-dee."
RED TAPE WORKS SLOW.
"My dear," said Mr. Coburn to his wife, "I saw in the papers
to-day a decision of a court that a wife may, in some cases, be
the head of the family."
"Henry," she replied positively, "the courts are sometimes slow
in finding out what all intelligent people ought to know."
SHE KNEW HER POWER.
"My husband," remarked a Pittsburgh woman to a group of
friends, "was a confirmed smoker of tobacco when I married him
a year ago, but to-day he never touches it."
"Good!" exclaimed one. "To break off a lifetime habit re-
quires a strong will."
"Well, that's what I've got," said the wife, confidently.
THE WIFE'S RETORT.
"Think what a woman's curiosity will do," said he, solemnly.
"Lot's wife looked around, and she turned into a pillar of salt."
"But how about yourself?" asked the wife. "When I was
downtown the other day I saw you look around, and you turned
into a saloon."
118 WIT AND HUMOR
HARDEST KIND OF WORK.
In a home missionary movement every participant was to con-
tribute a dollar that she had earned herself. The night for the
collection of the dollars came, and various and droll were the
stories told. The chairman turned to a handsome woman near
the front, and said:
"Now, madam, it is your turn. How did you earn your
"I got it from my husband."
"Oh! From your husband? There was no hard work about
With a toss of the head she smiled faintly as she replied:
"You don't know him."
A PLAN FOR FORESTATION.
"When husband and I made up after our first quarrel," said
Mrs. Wharton at a meeting of the sewing circle, "he planted a
tree in remembrance of it."
One of the ladies suggested that it would be a good idea for
husbands and wives to follow all their quarrels by such an act,
whereupon Mrs. McDonough raised her hands in protest, as she
"No, no ! It would never do. Why, we'd be starting a regular
forest around our house."
THROUGH WITH THEM.
The maid of all work, in a family where there were frequent
quarrels, said she was going to quit, much to the distress of the
lady of the house, who asked, regretfully:
"Why, what's the matter, Sarah? Haven't we always treated
you like one of the family?"
"Yes, mum," said Sarah, with determination, "and Oi've shtood
it as long as Oi'm goin' to !"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 1J9
MISSED KIS GUESS.
A man was telling that he came from a very large family,
when some one asked:
"How many are there of you?"
"Ten of us boys," he said, "and each of us has a sister."
, "Goodness gracious!" exclaimed the other. "So, then, there
are twenty of you?"
"No," said the boastful man, "only eleven."
NOT IN IT NOW.
A man had been brought into court in Cleveland on the charge
of non-support of his wife.
"Let me see," said the judge, "aren't you the man who was
married in a cage of tigers and leopards?"
"Yes, your Honor."
"Pretty exciting, wasn't it?"
"Well, your Honor, it seemed so then. It wouldn't now."
Mrs. Nebeker, dissatisfied with the number of times one cer-
tain man came to see her cook, spoke to her about it.
"When I engaged you," she began, "you told me you had no
men friends. Now I frequently find the same man here in the
kitchen with you."
"Bress yo' hea't, lady," smiled Dinah, "dat niggah ain't no
friend ob mine. Dat's mah husband !"
THE RING TOLD THE TALE.
Mrs. Hampton came running into her husband's office one
mor.iing, gasping for breath as she cried out :
"James, I can't find my diamond ring anywhere."
"It's all right, Bess," he replied, calmly; "I came across it in
my trousers pocket."
120 WIT AND HUMOR
WOMAN'S WONDERFUL INTUITION.
"My dear," remarked Sniggins, who had just finished reading
a book on "The Wonders of Nature," "this really is a remarkable
work. Nature is indeed marvelous. When I read a work like
this it makes me think how puerile, how insignificant is man."
"Huh !" sniffed his better half, "a woman doesn't have to wade
through a book to find that out!"
JOHN WAS PRACTICAL.
"What shall we do, husband, to celebrate our silver wedding?"
"Reckon up where all the silver's gone to in bringing up our
family," grumbled the supposed head of the house.
"Oh, no, John ; it must be something out of the ordinary. Let's
kill our fattest pig and give a banquet."
"Martha," said the husband, solemnly, "I don't see how that
brute is to blame for what we did twenty-five years ago."
COMING AND GOING.
"Do you keep any servants?"
"Why, of course not."
"But I thought I saw one in your kitchen."
"Oh, we have servants on the premises a day or two at a time,
but we don't keep them."
HAD BEEN CAUGHT BY IT.
"Do you believe that there is really something that can tell
when a man is lying?"
"I am absolutely sure of it."
"Ah! perhaps you have seen one of the instruments."
"Yes: I married one."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 121
Nature is a rag-merchant, who works up every shred, part and end
into new creations. — Emerson.
"And," continued the lecturer, "I warrant that there is not
a man in this entire audience who has ever attempted to stop this
awful waste of our forest and lumber supply. If there is, I want
that man to stand up and tell us about it."
There was a slight commotion in the rear of the room, and a
nervous little man arose, saying:
"I have often used the same toothpick twice."
A SAVING COOK.
"Martha," inquired the lady of the house, "did you wash this
fish carefully before baking it?"
"Lawsy, no, ma'am," was the surprised reply; "what's de use
ob washin' er fish dat's lived all his whol' life in de watah?"
"I've been using the same car steadily for six years, and it
hasn't cost me a cent for repairs yet."
"That is certainly a great record. What car is it?"
WHY WASTE IT?
Mistress: "Sarah, have you given the fish any fresh water
"No, mum. They haven't drank the water I gave them last
122 WIT AND HUMOR
Tourist : "You have a fine lot of corn under cultivation. Don't
the crows bother you a great deal?"
Farmer: "Oh, not much."
"That's strange, considering you have no scarecrows."
"Well, you see, I'm out here a good part of the time myself."
Oh, the cat and the canary,
He forgot to feed the twain.
Downtown he got anxious, very,
And went rushing home again.
Yes, he reached home in a hurry ;
All was silent in the flat.
Seems he might have saved his worry —
The canary fed the cat.
— Louisville Courier- Journal.
A LOWER BID.
"You'll excuse me, Captain," said O'Hagerty, addressing the
commander of the battleship, "but is it thrue that it costs seven
hundred dollars to fire one av thim guns?"
"Yes, that's correct. Why do you ask?"
"Oi thought, sor, Oi might save ye some money. Shure, and
Oi'll fire thim for twenty."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 123
He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief. — German Proverb.
IMPRESSED ON HIS MIND.
A tramp knocked at the back door and asked the housewife
for a bite to eat.
"You don't look like a man who should starve," she declared,
after a critical survey ; "why don't you go to work ?"
"I would, lady, only everybody I go to wants a letter of refer-
ence from my last employer."
"Well, can't you get one?"
"No, ma'am," the tramp answered, as he backed away; "he
has been dead about twelve years — and I remember it as well as
if it was but yesterday."
THE EASY AND HARD.
She could swing a six-pound dumb-bell,
She could fence and she could box ;
She could row upon the river,
She could clamber 'mong the rocks ;
She could golf from morn till evening,
And play tennis all day long;
But she couldn't help her mother,
'Cause she wasn't very strong! — London Opinion,
EXCUSE WAS SATISFACTORY.
In excusing her tardiness in answering a letter, Mrs. Wiggins
"I would have written sooner, but I have been sick with a dog-
bite in the arm. The man that owns the sawmill's dog bit me
in the road,"
]24 WIT AND HUMOR
Hostess : "I did want you to sing, Mr. Hessey, but it is such
a pleasant party I hate to break into their enjoyment."
AS THE BOY SAW IT.
Each member of the class in drawing was told to make a pic-
ture of a horse and wagon. The teacher, observing that one of
the boys had stopped with a picture of the horse only, asked:
"Harry, why don't you draw the wagon?"
"I'm going to let the horse do that," he carelessly replied.
AN EXPERT DODGER.
A tailor called to collect a bill from a slow-pay customer and
was asked if he owed anybody anything. He said he did not.
"Then you can well afford to wait," retorted the man.
Later the tailor called again to collect the bill, and this time
was asked if he was in debt to any one.
"Yes, but I haven't the money to pay," was the truthful
"That's just my case, my dear sir. I'm glad that at last you
can appreciate my position. Shake '"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 125
If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what
it teaches. — James Burgh.
PLENTY OF PRACTICE.
Lawyer: "The cross-examination did not seem to worry you.
Have you had any previous experience?"
Mrs. Brown: "Yes, sir; I have six children."
SHE KNEW ENOUGH.
As William looked into Geraldine's face, he resolved to try
a plan he had used with several other girls, so whispered ten-
"Darling, if I should ask you in French if I might kiss you,
what would you say?"
Geraldine, hastily recalling her scanty knowledge of French,
And he did.
USEFUL IN ONE WAY.
During the Civil War one of the generals had on his staff a
very stupid lieutenant, who never seemed able to do anything
without making some kind of a blunder. One day a friend
asked the general:
"Why do you keep that man on the staff? He seems to be a
"Why, do you know," replied the general, "he is one of the
most useful members of my staff? Before I issue an order I
always have that man read it. If he can tell what it means, I
126 WIT AND HUMOR
am sure there can be no chance that any one else will mis-
The father complained that the war was making everything
higher, and added:
"I see by the papers that even castor oil is going up."
"I should worry!" said his young hopeful, with a joyful shrug
of the shoulders. "Only time, it bothers me is when it's going
EFFECT IN ADVERTISING.
An art dealer had displayed a beautiful reproduction of the
painting, "The Approaching Storm," but it attracted very little
attention. However, when he placed beneath it a card bearing
the words, "Suitable for a wedding present," the sidewalk in
front was almost blockaded by married men and women stopping
to look and Gomment in a knowing way upon the combination.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 127
One minute of keeping your mouth shut is worth an hour's explanation.
— Ida Q. Moulton.
AND ALL IN PLAY.
Mrs. Pittson : "Mary Ann, these balusters seem always dusty.
I was at Mrs. Hughson's after church, and her stair-rails are
clean, and smooth as glass."
Mary Ann : "Yis, mum ; but she has t'ree small boys."
DIDN'T RECOGNIZE IT.
Proud Father : "That is a sunset my daughter painted. She
studied abroad, you may remember?"
Friend: "That explains it. I never saw anything like that
in this country."
VERY BRIGHT YOUNG MAN.
Reporter: "I've got a good piece of news for you this morn-
ing. I found a person who has been confined to one room his
Editor: "Good! Write it up. Who is it?"
Reporter: "Why, a three-days-old baby at our house."
DEPENDS ON THE BAND.
A local band was playing one day at Dumferline, says the
Dundee News, when an old weaver came up and asked the band-
master the name of the piece.
"That is the 'Death of Nelson,' " was the solemn reply.
"Ay, man," remarked the weaver, "ye hae gi'en him an awfu'
128 WIT AND HUMOR
WANTED TO CATCH UP.
"Why do you insist upon having the largest piece of pie,
Harry?" asked the mother, reprovingly; "isn't your big brother
entitled to it?"
"No, mamma, not the way it looks to me," replied Harry.
"He was eating pie three years before I was born."
WOULD TAME ANY COW.
One of the big railroad lines has a regular form for reporting
accidents to animals on its tracks. Recently a cow was killed,
and the track foreman drew up the report. In answer to the
question, "Disposition of carcass?" he wrote:
"Kind and gentle."
HAD HIS OWN IDEAS.
A Scotchman, meeting an Irishman, asked:
"I say, Pat, have you ever been in Italy?"
"Sure, and I have, Sandy."
"Weel, is property dear in Italy, Pat?" continued the Scotch-
"No, Sandy, but the rents are awful — due to the airthquakes !"
WHERE DID HE LEARN?
Sammy (at the window) : "Oh, ma, an automobile just went
by as big as a barn."
Mother: "Sammy, why do you exaggerate so terribly? I've
told you forty thousand times about that habit of yours, and it
doesn't seem to do a bit of good."
Mrs. Rosseter : "What delightful manners your daughter has !"
Mrs. Porter (proudly): "Yes; you see, she has been away
from home so much."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [29
THE BOY STARTED SOMETHING.
The merchant had come home tired, as on orevious evenings,
but, in keeping with a rule on which he prided himself, gave up
some of his time to his little son, who usually had a number of
questions saved up for him. On this occasion, the boy leaned
against his father's knee and innocently asked:
"Daddy, is to-day to-morrow?"
"No, my son, of course to-day isn't to-morrow — not yet,"
replied the father, with a premonition of impending trouble.
"But, you said it was."
"When did I ever say such a thing as that?"
"Yesterday, you did. You said that very thing."
The father scratched his head in deep study, but finally
rallied, and said:
"Well, son, it was ; to-day was to-morrow yesterday, but
to-day is to-day to-day, just as yesterday was to-day yesterday,
but is yesterday to-day, and to-morrow will be to-day to-morrow,
which makes to-day yesterday and to-morrow ail at once. Now,
run along and play," and the father collapsed into his big chair
with a sigh of relief.
HAD HIS SAY, ANYWAY.
"You ought to have seen Mr. Mallory when he called upon
Dorothy the other night," remarked Frank to his sister's young
man, who was taking tea with the family. "I tell you, he looked
fine, sitting there alongside of her, with his arm — "
"Frank!" gasped his sister, her face crimson.
"Well, he did," persisted the boy; "he had his arm — "
"Frank!" screamed the mother, frantically.
"Why," whined the lad, "I was—"
"Frank," said his father, sternly, "leave the room!"
And Frank left, crying out as he went :
"I was only going to say that he had his army clothes on."
130 WIT AND HUMOR
NO DOUBT THE TRUTH.
A pompous manufacturer of machinery was showing a
stranger over his factory, and when they stopped to look at one
of the machines, he said with considerable pride:
"Fine piece of work."
"Yes," said the visitor, "but you can't hold a candle to the
goods we are turning out at our plant."
"Indeed!" said the other, half hurt. "And what is your
"Gunpowder, sir," was the reply.
CUSTOMER WAS PARTICULAR.
"What's the matter with your butter lately?" inquired the
grocer of the farmer's wife, who had been bringing him home-
made butter. "I'm sorry to say it," he went on, "but it's short
"Well, if my butter is short weight, so is your tea. I buy a
pound each week, and weigh the butter against it on the scales.
I'm always pertikler to get it exact," was the curt reply.
GOT THE START OF HIM.
"How will you have your hair cut, sir?" said the talkative
barber to the man in his chair.
"Minus conversational prolixity," replied he.
"How's that, sir?"
"With abbreviated or totally eliminated narrations. Let even
diminutive colloquy be conspicuous by its absence."
The barber scratched his head thoughtfully, and then went
over to the proprietor of the shop and whispered :
"I don't know whether the man in my chair is crazy or a
foreigner, but I can't find out what he wants."
Then the customer explained that he wanted his hair cut in
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 13]
JUST THE OTHER WAY.
During the Sunday morning sermon a baby began to cry, and
the mother carried it towards the door. The minister paused,
coming down from his high-pitched tone, and said:
"You needn't leave, madam. The baby is not disturbing me."
The mother looked toward the pulpit just before reaching the
exit, and said, distinctly:
"No ; but you're a-disturbin' him."
A MIXED PRODUCT.
Little Sigrid was born in America, of Norwegian parents.
"What is your nationality, Sigrid?" asked the teacher.
The little girl tossed back her hair, as she answered proudly:
"I am an American of Norwegian design."
HE SAW INTO IT.
Bystander : "What are you digging out that hole for ?"
Pat: "Arrah! And it's not the hole I'm diggin' out; I'm
diggin' the dirt out and lavin' the hole."
MADE A DIFFERENCE.
It was the first night of the new theater, and Jack's seat was
next to a fellow about the same age as himself.
"Say, mate, can you smoke in here?" he inquired.
"No," briefly replied the other.
A few minutes later Jack saw others smoking, and, looking
about, could discover no prohibitory notices on the walls, so
again spoke to the quiet young man :
"I thought you said you couldn't smoke here?"
"I can't," he said, humbly, with a jerk of his thumb towards
the woman to his right, and whispered: "My mother won't let
]J2 WIT AND HUMOR
THE RUDE OFFICER!
"You say the officer arrested you while you were quietly
minding your own business?"
"Yes, your Honor."
"You were making no noise or disturbance of any kind?"
"None whatever, sir."
"It seems very strange to me," said the judge; "by the way,
what is your business?"
"I'm a burglar, your Honor."
NOT EASILY CAUGHT.
Mrs. Holland entered the taxidermist's with a stuffed parrot
in her hands.
"Do you remember the bird you stuffed for me last Christ-
mas?" she asked. "Well, the feathers are nearly all falling out."
"Ah, madam," said the man, "that is a triumph of our art.
We stuff our birds so well that they moult at the proper season."
ALL IN SAME BOAT.
"It seems strange that he could plunder a big corporation like
that for years without being found out."
"Well, you see, the corporation was pretty busy itself."
FREQUENTLY THE CASE.
"Aunt Liz had a hard time having her picture taken to-day,"
said her nephew, who had just opened a photographic studio, and
had very courteously asked his aunt to come and pose for a new
"What was the trouble?" asked his brother.
"Well, you see, when I told her to look pleasant, she didn't
look natural, and when I told her to look natural, she didn't look
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 133
Many have lived on a pedestal who will not have a statue when dead.—
THOUGHT OF HIMSELF.
An old man on his death-bed, in making his will, said to the
"And to each employe who has been with me twenty years
or more I bequeath ten thousand dollars."
"That is certainly very generous," said the lawyer.
"No, not at all. You see, none of them has been with me
that long, but it will look pretty good in the papers, don't you
think?" said the sick man, hopefully.
NOT VERY PROMINENT.
Two men from out West were in Washington, and decided
to visit Congress while that body was in session. Taking a seat
in the gallery, they looked down among the Representatives, in
hope of seeing the Congressman from their district.
"I can't distinguish him," said one, after several moments had
"No wonder," was the quick response of the other; "he can't
even distinguish himself."
COULD BE LEFT OUT.
"How does Dorfling stand in this community?"
"Old Bill Dorfling?" inquired the native, lazily,
"Yes, the same fellow."
"Why, he makes about as much noise in these parts as the
letter 'B' does in the word debt."
134 WIT AND HUMOR
WOULD NOT BE THE GOAT.
"It is true," said the lady of high ideals, quite sternly, in
conversing with a successful writer, "that you have gained much
prosperity by your writings, but have you written anything that
"Perhaps not," the author rejoined, "but when it comes to a
question as to which shall live, my writings or myself, I never
hesitate to sacrifice my writings."
WISDOM OF A CHILD.
A newly elected member of the British Parliament, proud of
his position, took his little daughter with him to Westminster
one day. She was apparently much awed at the splendors around
her, viewing it all in silence until her father said to her :
"What are you thinking so deeply about, dear?"
"Well, papa," said she, in a tone of disappointment, "I was
thinking that you're a pretty big man in our house, but not very
ONE OF THREE THINGS.
In William J. Bryan's younger days, he made fifty speeches
in one campaign against the Republican candidate for Governor
of Nebraska, says Collier's Weekly, but the man was elected,
just the same. On the following St. Patrick's Day, Bryan was
booked for a speech on a varied program, and, upon his arrival
at the place of the meeting, was surprised to find that the newly
elected Governor was to preside. When the time came to intro-
duce Mr. Bryan (whom he had never met), he arose and said
with his usual courtesy:
"The next person on the program is W. J. Bryan," and as
the latter stepped forward he grasped his hand and whispered:
"Quick! Do you speak, sing or dance?"
"He had never even heard of me," said Mr. Bryan, later, in
telling of the embarrassing incident.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 135
We may not expect a good whelp from a poor dog. — Cicero.
A man arrested on a charge of murder felt that the evidence
would be strong against him, so began planning to secure a ver-
dict on a minor count. He managed to get one hundred dollars
to his friend Dougherty, chosen to serve on the jury, with
instructions to work for a verdict of manslaughter. Dougherty
succeeded in obtaining such a verdict, and after the trial the
defendant rushed up to him, anxiously inquiring :
"Did you have a hard time getting the verdict?"
"I shore did, sor — an arful har-rd time. The other eliven
wanted to acquit yez."
THE WIDOW'S SUGGESTION.
"Oh !" fervently exclaimed the suffragette, "if the Lord had
only made me a man !"
"Perhaps He did, dear," said the widow, consolingly, "but
you haven't just happened to find him yet."
INSULT WORSE THAN THE DEBT.
Tailor: "I thought I'd met some cheeky people, but — "
Shoemaker: "What's up now?"
Tailor: "Why, these trousers; this is the fourth time I have
pressed them, and they're not even paid for yet."
Shoemaker : "Cheer up ! I went to collect for a pair of shoes
yesterday, and the fellow I made them for kicked me out with
136 WIT AND HUMOR
ACCIDENT PROMOTES GENEROSITY.
A little country church needed repairing, and the official
board had called a meeting of the people to see what could be
done toward raising the necessary funds. One of the wealthiest
and most miserly of the members arose and said he would give
five dollars. Just as he sat down a bunch of plastering fell
from the ceiling and hit him on the head. Immediately he
jumped up, looked confused, and said:
"I — er — I meant fifty dollars."
After a brief silence, a voice was heard to cry out:
"O Lord, hit 'im again!"
A scantily clad man hurried from his stateroom on the steamer
and dashed toward the upper deck. On the way he ran into the
captain of the vessel, and tremblingly asked :
"Oh, Captain, what's the matter? Is the ship sinking?"
"Calm yourself, and be prepared for the worst," the official
"Oh, don't tell me we're sinking! Where are the life-pre-
"They wouldn't be of any service now," said the captain;
"you'll have to look out for yourself from now on. You see,
we've just tied up to the dock!"
Advertisement in a New York Paper: "Wanted — Book-
keeper and salesman. Must have one leg shorter than the
"We were about to telephone this opportunity to a friend,"
says the Boston Transcript, "when we suddenly remembered that
what he had was one leg longer than the other."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [37
HAD A BAD MOUTH.
"What started the row?" inquired the policeman.
"A fake dentist sold a set of celluloid teeth to the man who
eats fire in the vaudeville show."
"So you refuse to renew your dog license? Don't you know
it has expired?" asked the collector, gravely.
"Yes, sah, Ah knows de license has expiahed, sah; but so
has de dog."
BREVITY WITHOUT WIT.
When word reached a merchant who was away from home
that his store had been burned, he telegraphed to his manager
for more particulars, and received this reply:
"No particulars. No store."
138 WIT AND HUMOR
Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive. — Walter Scott.
NOT THEIR FAULT.
Alexander Washington Jackson, a pillar of the colored
church, was entertaining the pastor, and also some of the prom-
inent members of the church, at dinner. After grace, Alexander
began carving the chicken, and the pastor became facetious.
"Brudder Jackson," he said, smilingly, "do de white folks
around heah keep chickens?"
As Alexander pried loose the second wing, he replied:
"No, sah, pahson; but dey suttin'ly tries to."
A well-known judge dined at a hotel where the man who had
charge of the hats was noted for his memory regarding their
"How do you know that is mine?" the judge asked, as his
silk hat was handed to him when he was ready to depart.
"I don't know, sir."
"Then, why do you give it to me?" inquired the bewildered
"Because you gave it to me, sir," replied the man, without
changing his expression.
THE STRANGER'S MISTAKE.
Visitor: "How does the land lie out this way?"
Native : "It ain't the land what lies ; it's the land agents what
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 1139
SORRY IT WASN'T TRUE.
A country editor was visited in his office by a ferocious-
looking man, who exclaimed, excitedly:
"That notice of my death in your paper to-day is a lie, sir;
a lie. I'll horsewhip you in public, sir, if you don't apologize in
your next issue."
When the paper came out again the following notice appeared :
"We regret to announce that the paragraph in our last issue
which stated that Colonel Brimsby was dead, was not true."
HAD BECOME REGULAR TARGET.
A visiting minister, preaching in a town famous for its horse-
races, vigorously denounced the sport. The principal patron of
the races always attended the church, and of this the clergyman
was later informed.
"I'm afraid I touched one of your weaknesses," said the
pastor, not wishing to offend the wealthy man; "but it was quite
unintentional, I assure you."
"Oh, don't mind that," said the sportsman, genially; "it's a
mighty poor sermon that don't hit me somewhere."
THE BOY WAS POSTED.
A well-known bishop who has a wife of a pronounced tem-
perament one day caught a small boy stealing grapes from his
vines. He reproved the offender sternly, and concluded:
"Do you know, my boy, why I tell you this? There is One
before whom even I am a crawling worm. Do you know who
"Sure," said the boy, promptly; "your wife!"
PERHAPS 'TWAS TRUE.
"Mike, I am going to make you a present of this pig."
"Ah, shure, an' it's just like you, sor !"
140 WIT AND HUMOR
THE PREACHER KNEW HIM.
While traveling on a steamboat, a notorious card-sharper,
wishing to get into the good graces of a clergyman who was on
board, said to the reverend gentleman :
"I should like to hear you preach, sir."
"You could have heard me last Sunday if you had been where
you should have been."
"Where was that, if I may ask?"
"In the county jail."
TOO LONG TO WAIT.
A retail dealer who handled leather goods wrote to a firm in
Massachusetts, ordering a carload of merchandise. Upon receipt
of his letter, the firm immediately wired back :
"Can not ship your order until last consignment is paid for."
To this the retailer sent the following telegram in reply:
"Unable to wait so long. Cancel the order."
BILL NYE'S COW AD.
Bill Nye, the humorist, once had a cow to sell, and advertised
her as follows:
"Owing to my ill health, I will sell at my residence, in town-
ship 19, range 18, according to the Government survey, one plush
raspberry cow, aged eight years. She is of undoubted courage,
and gives milk frequently. To a man who does not fear death
in any form, she would be a great boon. She is very much
attached to her present home with a stay chain, but will be sold
to any one who will treat her right. She is one-fourth short-
horn and three-fourths hyena. I will also throw in a double-
barrel shotgun, which goes with her. In May she usually goes
away for a week or two and returns with a tall, red calf with
wabbly legs. Her name is Rose. I would prefer to sell her to
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 141
COULD BE TRUSTED.
The witness was a fat, red-nosed man, with plenty of conceit.
"So you are the superintendent of the waterworks, eh?" began
the attorney in cross-questioning him.
"And you give satisfaction?"
"Yes, sir; I've given perfect satisfaction at the waterworks
for seven years."
"Humph!" said the lawyer, "you look like a man who could
be trusted with any amount of water."
MORE SUPPLIES NEEDED.
A colored woman whose husband was in the penitentiary
went to the Governor of her State, who was known as the "par-
doning Governor," and said very seriously:
"Marse Guv'nah, I wants my man pahdoned. He's in de
penitentiary, and all he done was jes' steal a ham."
"Did he really steal it, Auntie ?" said the Governor, kindly.
"Lawsy, yes. He's jes' dat triflin' 'bout takin' t'ings."
"Then, why do you want him pardoned?"
"Marse Guv'nah, I needs him. We'se plumb out ob ham
GOT IT STRAIGHT.
Mr. Paine had become much disturbed over some stomach
trouble, and went to an eminent physician, complaining that he
felt very bad right then.
"What did you have for luncheon?" the doctor inquired.
Mr. Paine answered, thoughtfully:
"Crabs en casserole, bisque soup, a little chicken, nut salad,
ice-cream, crackers and cheese."
The physician gave him a keen look as he said :
"You don't need a stomach specialist. What you want is a
142 WIT AND HUMOR
FOLLOWED THE ADVICE.
Dentist: "Have you been anywhere else before coming to me?"
Patient: "I went to see the druggist in our village."
"And what idiotic advice did he give you?"
"He told me to come and see you, sir."
A WISE COURSE.
Miss Milly was a talkative young lady. Her bosom friend,
having missed her for some time, called to find out the reason.
"No, mum, Miss Milly is not in," the maid informed her.
"She has gone to the class."
"Why, what class?" inquired the caller, in surprise.
"Well, mum, you know Miss Milly is to be married soon, and
she's taking a course of lessons in domestic silence."
NO DOUBT GOT IT.
Old Lady (to grocer's boy) : "Don't you know it's very rude to
whistle when dealing with a lady?"
"That's what the boss told me to do, mum."
"Told you to whistle?"
"Yes'm. He said if we ever sold you anything we'd have to
whistle for the money."
THE PROBLEM SOLVED.
Los Angeles is known throughout the nation for the boosting
spirit of its citizens. It is said this was made the pretext for a
criticism upon the occasion of an address by a Seattle merchant,
who had been invited to make a talk to a number of Los Angeles
"Why, gentlemen," said he, " if you Los Angeles people would
run a pipe-line from here to the ocean, and would all suck as
hard as you blow, you could have the biggest harbor in the
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 143
ANSWER WAS PROMPT.
"My dear," said the caller, with a smile, to a little girl who
occupied the study while her father, an eminent literary man,
was at dinner : "I suppose you assist your father by entertaining
"Yes, sir," replied the little girl in a matter-of-fact way,
"please be seated."
AUDIENCE STAYED WITH HIM.
On a very rainy night a lecturer volunteered to cut his address
short, and, having reached what he considered the psychological
"I'm afraid I've kept you too long."
Immediately came a voice from the audience:
"Go on ; it's still raining. Lots of us didn't bring no umbrel."
NOT MUCH WORRIED.
Floor-walker, to man who seems undecided which way to go :
"Are you looking for something?"
"No, sir," was the cool reply; "I've lost my wife."
ONE DAY ENOUGH.
Mistress: "Would you like to come on trial for a week?"
Applicant for Position as Cook: "No, mum; sure, an' Oi can
tell in wan day whither Oi like yez."
Kathleen: "Grant says he can't understand why I accepted
Elsie : "He isn't like most folks."
Kathleen: "I don't know what you mean."
Elsie: "Other people can't understand why he proposed to
144 WIT AND HUMOR
HUNTING A BARGAIN.
McKinney was noted in his home town for his miserly deal-
ings. One day when he stepped into the drugstore and asked
for twenty-five cents' worth of morphine, the polite clerk asked:
"What do you want it for?"
"Twenty cents," was the prompt reply.
MANY LIKE MOLLY.
Two old maids were planning for the holidays.
"Sister Molly," said the younger, "would a long stocking hold
all you'd want for a Christmas gift?"
"No, Elvira," said the elder, "but a pair of socks would."
HAD WRONGED MOTHER-IN-LAW.
"I just wish I'd taken mother's advice when she begged and
begged me not to marry you."
"Did your mother really try to keep you from marrying me?"
"Yes, time after time."
"Oh, how I have wronged that woman!"
Proud Mother (holding crying babe) : "Well, Uncle Ned, isn't
he just the sweetest little cherub in the world?"
"I'm not much up on cherubs, Lucy," said the uncle, "but as
a specimen of plain human baby he's certainly a howling success."
TOLD THE TRUTH.
"It's all very well for shallow people to criticize young min-
isters and talk of their inexperience," said the wealthy miser,
"but I have nothing but praise for our pastor — nothing but
"So I've noticed," said the deacon who helps in taking the
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS H5
ACCORDING TO THE PLACE.
Father, mother and son were on their way downtown on a
crowded car. She thought a hint might induce the boy to stand
up instead of his father, so asked:
"Doesn't it make your heart ache to see pa reaching up for
"Not here," the lad replied, "but it does at home."
WILLING TO ADMIT IT.
A woman who had a queer way of expressing herself, upon
hearing of some wonderful medical discovery, said:
"Well, that may be true. I don't know as much as some folks,
if I do say it myself."
NO FEAR OF THE WOLF.
Husband: "Well, wifie, I've had my life insured for three
Wife: "How sensible of you! Now I shan't have to keep
reminding you to be careful every place you go."
WHY HE WAS GLOOMY.
One of the guests at a wedding, seeing a dismal-looking young
man who appeared to be on terms of familiarity with the prin-
"Are you related to either of the happy participants?"
'No," was the solemn reply, "I'm the defeated candidate."
A WONDER HE TOLD IT.
As a pleasant-faced woman passed the corner, Hemple
touched his hat to her, and remarked feelingly to his companion :
"Ah, my boy, I owe a great deal to that woman."
"Your mother, or a near relative?"
"No; my landlady."
]46 WIT AND HUMOR
NOT HIS GIFT.
Two London cabmen were glaring fiercely at each other.
"Aw, wot's the matter with you?" demanded one.
"Nothing's the matter with me."
"You gave me a narsty look," persisted the first.
"Me? Well, you cert'nly have a narsty look, but never did
I give it to you."
THE TRUTH SLIPPED OUT.
"Mamma, I think you are clever, to be able to argue with the
professor about sociology," said the admiring daughter.
"I have only been concealing my ignorance," was the reply.
Professor (gallantly) : "Oh, no, Mrs. Shaw. Quite the con-
trary, I assure you."
Doctor : "It will be necessary for you to give up mental work
for a few weeks."
Patient: "But, Doctor, that would stop my income. I write
poems for the magazines and Sunday papers."
Doctor : "Oh, that's all right. You can keep on with that It
won't hurt you at all."
Colored Woman: "I wants to see Mistah Wessell."
Office Boy: "Mr. Wessell is engaged."
"Well, I doan' want to marry 'im, honey; I jes' wants to talk
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 147
Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead. — Benjamin Franklin.
THE USUAL WAY.
Margaret and Hattie, seated next to each other at a dinner-
party, immediately became confidential.
"Mollie told me you told her that secret I told you not to tell
her," whispered Margaret.
"Oh, isn't she mean !" gasped Hattie. "Why, I was particular
to tell her not to tell you."
"Well," consoled Margaret, "I told her I wouldn't tell you
she told me — so don't tell her I did:"
THE REAL JOY OF IT.
Miss Hapgood : "Of course you know you can't believe every-
thing you hear."
Miss Talkety: "Oh, no, but you can repeat it, just the same."
JUST LOOK AHEAD.
"When you turns ober a new leaf," said Sambo, "you'se got
to make up yoh mind not to notice de people dat insist on huntin'
up de back numbahs and makin' rema'ks."
THOUGHT SHE KNEW.
An architect met a lady of his acquaintance on the street and
remarked that he had just been to see the nave of the new
church, of which they were both members. .
"You needn't mention any names," said the woman, with a
discerning glance; "I know to whom you refer."
148 WIT AND HUMOR
WANTED GOOD PRICE.
Freddie came in and said that the woman next door had
offered him a penny if he would tell what his mother said
"I hope you didn't tell," said his mother, anxiously; "I
wouldn't have her know for anything that I even mentioned
"You bet I didn't; not for a penny," said the boy. "I told
her what you said about her was something awful, and that it
was easily worth half a dollar."
ONE THING THAT DISTURBS.
"Ah wus thinkin'," said Rastus Jackson, "what a nice, peace-
ful-laike world dis yer universe would 'a' been if it wasn't foh
de movement ob de human under jaw."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 149
If you love not the sound of bells, why pull the ropes? — Danish
UP TO THE JUDGE.
"Now, I don't expect to ever see you here again," said the
judge to Rufus, who had been frequently arrested on minor
"Not see me here again?" said Rufus, in surprise. "Why,
yo' isn't gwine to resign yo' job, is yo\ Jedge?"
MADE NO DIFFERENCE.
Wife of Politician (at 2 a. m.) : "The baby's crying again,
John. What shall we do with him?"
Sleepy Voice of the Father: "I move that the gentleman be
no longer heard, and that he be declared out of order."
But he was heard, just the same.
JUST SUITED HIM.
Several of Zellerby's friends, believing he would be glad to
break away from the liquor habit had he the will-power to do so,
arranged with a physician to give him treatment, and one of
them accompanied the doctor to the man's home. Approaching
the subject in a roundabout way, his friend said to Zellerby:
"Dr. Hollington, here, will treat you every day for a month,
if it's agreeable to you."
"Mighty kind of you all," said Zellerby, his face lighting up
hopefully. "I'm out of money, and have been wondering where
the treats would come from, since the old gang's gone back on
]50 WIT AND HUMOR
HE WAS VERY GRATEFUL.
Bill Hester was recovering from a long spell of drinking,
and felt disgusted with himself. While in this mood, a man got
hold of him, took him to a big temperance meeting, and Bill was
persuaded to sign the total-abstinence pledge. All formalities
gone through, he looked at the pledge-card and the beautiful
badge the workers had given him, and finally said to the chair-
"Now, what have I to pay?"
"Not a penny."
"Well, then," said Bill, "let's go across the street and have
a couple o' pints on it, anyhow."
HARD TO BE PERFECT.
"It appears from your record, Mollie," said the judge, "that
you have been thirty-five times convicted of petty stealing."
"I guess that's about right," replied Mollie, somewhat thought-
fully; "none of us is perfect."
IN HIS BUSINESS.
"That policeman is entirely too conscientious.'*
"What makes you say that?"
"Just this — he arrested the growth of a vine on his house
when he found it climbing through a window.'*
BARGAIN IN A SONG.
A converted Jew was conducting his first religious service,
and everything went well until he seemed to almost forget his
surroundings as he announced:
"We will now sing three-ninety-eight, reduced from four-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 151
Patronize the florist more, the cigar dealer less, and the fragrance of
your home will be sweeter. — Riddell.
A well-dressed man stood for several minutes watching a
brawny drayman tugging at a heavily laden box almost as wide
as the doorway through which he was trying to move it. Pres-
ently the onlooker approached the perspiring drayman, patron-
izingly, and asked:
"Like to have a lift?"
"Sure, I would," the other replied, and for the next two
minutes the two men, on opposite sides of the box, worked, lifted,
puffed and wheezed, but it did not move an inch. Finally the well-
dressed man straightened up and said between puffs :
"I don't believe — we can — ever get — it out."
"Get it out ?" the drayman roared ; "why, you idiot, I'm trying
to get it in!"
AGREED WITH HER.
She: "Women are more resourceful than men."
He : "I guess that's right. A man has to get his clothes made
to fit his shape, for instance, but a woman can get her shape
made to fit her clothes."
"Is there any way of stopping these cyclones?" asked the
man from the East.
"Oh, no," replied the Westerner; "the best way is to fall
right in with 'em. You'll get along better than to go to opposin'
]52 WIT AND HUMOR
SO FAR, SO GOOD.
A nervous young lawyer arose to make his first address, in a
crowded courtroom. He began :
"Your Honor, my unfortunate client — my unfortunate client—
your — "
"Go on, sir!" shouted the exasperated judge; "so far as you
have proceeded, the court entirely agrees with you."
Briggs : "Say, can you lend me five or ten — "
Briggs: "minutes? I think I can show you how to make
Braggs : "trouble at all. You can have twenty if you want
it." — Stanford Chaparral.
COMMENCED AT ONCE.
A man dined one day at a country inn, and the landlord
asked how he liked his fare.
"I have dined as well as any man in England," was the reply.
"Except the mayor," said the landlord.
"I except nobody," was the retort.
"But you must," the host insisted.
The result of the quarrel was that a petty magistrate took
the man before the mayor, who observed that it had been cus-
tomary in that town for a number of years to always "except
the mayor," and accordingly fined him for not conforming to
the custom. Upon the announcement of this decision the man
paid his fine, and, as he started to leave, remarked:
"To my mind, that landlord is the biggest fool in England-
except the mayor."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 153
A man finds himself seven years older the day after his marriage. —
WISE FOR HIS AGE.
"Did you see anything that particularly struck your fancy
when looking about the furniture-shops to-day?" asked a newly
married man of his bride, on her return from a tour of furniture
"Yes," was her reply, "I saw something exceedingly pretty in
"I have no doubt of it," he observed, "if you looked into
The halo of a calm, sweet peace rests upon that home.
DIDN'T MEAN TO BE CRUEL.
They had been married but a short time, when the young
husband was compelled to be away from home for about two
"I'll just learn to cook while you are gone," said the sweet
"Good idea — and I'll take the dog over to Neighbor Hamp-
ton's," said the head of the new household, thoughtfully.
"Well, Dinah, I hear you are married."
"Yas'm," said the former cook, "Fse done got me a man now."
"Is he a good provider?"
"Yas'm, but I'se powerful skeered dat he's gwine ter get
kotched at it."
154 WIT AND HUMOR
BRIDE WAS SO THOUGHTFUL.
"How does the breakfast suit you, Roy?" inquired the young
"It's just right, dearest. It may be plebeian, but I'm awfully
fond of calves' liver for breakfast."
"So am I, dear," she responded, with enthusiasm, adding:
"Oh, Roy, don't you think it would pay us to keep a calf ? Then
we could have liver every morning for breakfast."
LOOKED BAD FOR THE BRIDE.
The bridegroom was persistently called on for a speech at
the close of the wedding feast, and surmised that it was a pre-
arranged plan to embarrass him. Nervously placing one hand
upon the shoulder of his bride, as he stood by her side, and,
looking blushingly down at her, he began:
"Friends, this thing has been forced on me."
And he wondered why everybody laughed.
ECONOMY GONE TO SEED.
Young Wife : "Oh, Edward, you do believe that I am always
thinking of economy, don't you?"
Young Husband: "Mabel, your six-bit telegram this after-
noon, telling me where to go to save four bits on a carpet-
sweeper, warns me that you are thinking of it too much."
OLD DODGE RIDDLED.
"Going to the lodge, Harry?" asked the young wife, in sur-
prise ; "I didn't know you were a member of any lodge."
"Why — yes — Helen. I belong to the United Order of Buffa-
loes," he said, rather nervously.
"And would you rather spend the evening with a lot of
Buffaloes than with your own little dear?"
And Harry meekly hung his hat up again.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 155
WHAT SHE MEANT.
George: "You will make me a good wife, I'm sure," he said,
Jane : "I know I'll make you a good husband."
And George understood.
"You ought to like these biscuits, dear," said the young wife.
"They are exactly like your mother made when you were a boy."
"Of course they are," replied the young husband, gallantly;
"I thought at first they were some of the same ones."
IN A TIGHT PLACE.
"I must say, these are fine biscuits," exclaimed the young
"How could you say those were fine biscuits?" inquired the
young husband's mother, a few minutes later.
"I didn't say they were fine," he explained; "I merely said I
must say so."
156 WIT AND HUMOR
A man who is bitten twice by the same dog is better adapted to that
business than any other. — Josh Billings.
NOT YET AWHILE.
The colored folks of the town were giving a big ball, at
which programs were being used for the first time, and their
use was not well understood by many of those present. During
the evening, refreshments of sandwiches and olives were served.
When the dance was resumed, a colored man approached one of
the ladies, who was still wiping the crumbs from her mouth,
"Mirandy, is yo' program full?"
"Lawsy, no," she replied, in a tone of disappointment; "go
'long, now! It shore takes mo' dan a ham sandwich and an
olive to fill my program."
HE HAD THE IDEA.
As a stolid German was steering a trio of other Germans
about for a day, it became necessary to use a telephone. Although
Fritz had used a 'phone a few times, the idea was so surprising
to the three newcomers that it occurred to him as an opportunity
to make an impression of superiority. Stepping up to the 'phone
with a jaunty air, he took down the receiver, and, not hearing a
voice at first, started in :
"Hello! Is dis— "
He paused limply, for he was stuck. Only for a second or
two, however; then his self-confidence came back, as he called
"Is dis der middle?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 1|7
GAVE A GOOD REASON.
The story is told of an Irishman who was discharged from
the Baldwin Locomotive Works by a foreman, who, to avoid
discussion, put the dismissal in writing. Less than a week later
he saw the man again at his lathe, and demanded :
"Didn't you get my letter ?"
"Yes, sor, I did that," replied Pat.
"Did you read it? Can't you understand plain English?"
"Sure, I read it, both inside and outside. On the inside ye
says I was fired, and on the outside ye said, 'Return in five days
to the Baldwin Locomotive Works,' and here I be, sor."
A young wife, wishing to announce the birth of her first
child to a friend in a distant city, sent this telegram:
"Isaiah 9 : 6," which begins : "For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given."
Her friend, not familiar with the Scriptures, said to her
"Margaret evidently has a boy; but why on earth did they
name him Isaiah? He must be healthy, though, for he weighs
nine pounds and six ounces."
TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HER.
A member of the school board in a Pennsylvania town tells
the story of a young woman who failed to pass the examination
for appointment as teacher in the public school. Her mother
was asked by a friend whether the daughter had succeeded in
running the gauntlet of the examiners.
"No," was the reply, in a mournful tone; "Sally didn't pass
at all. Maybe you won't believe it, but them examiners asked
the poor girl about things that happened years and years before
she was even born."
]58 WIT AND HUMOR
DIDN'T WANT TO EXPLODE.
A sturdy old mountain woman was very ill with rheumatism,
and for the first time in her life the doctor had been called to
see her. He prescribed quinine in capsules, and it was only after
much persuasion that she was induced to swallow them. Each
time her face turned pale with apprehension, but at last she was
able to sit up, so her daughter prepared a treat. Getting down
the old woman's corncob pipe, she filled it with tobacco, tamped
it down, then between two sticks she picked up a live coal from
the hearth and started toward the bed.
"Ma," she said, "jest look what I got fer ye!"
"Lordy, Mandy ! Git away from here !" the mother screamed.
"Take away that fire ! Take it away ! Don't yer know I'se done
filled plumb up with cartridges?"
CROWD WAS WITH HIM.
The lecturer had given a lot of statistics, and a man in the
audience wanted to confuse him, if possible, so, when the oppor-
tunity was granted for asking questions, he inquired :
"How do you find the greatest common divisor?"
Slowly and deliberately the lecturer pointed his finger straight
at the man, and in a voice that made the windows rattle, roared :
"Advertise for it, you ignoramus!"
The crowd cheered and yelled with delight, while the ques-
tioner crawled out of the hall like a whipped cur.
COULDN'T BE DENIED.
"Farmers," said the fair city visitor, "are just as dishonest as
the city milkmen."
"How d'ye make that out?" asked the farmer's wife.
"Why, this morning," said the girl, accusingly, "with my own
eyes I saw your hired man water the cows just before he milked
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 159
WHY TAKE THE RISK?
A wire had been stretched across a street in a large Western
city, from the top of one high building to the top of another, for a
rope-walker's performance. The people were already assembling
to witness the feat, when a simple-minded man who had just
happened along, asked a stranger :
"What's it all about?"
"See that wire?" was the reply. "Well, a man's going to walk
across the street on it."
"What's the matter with the ground? Seems to me it's risky,
walkin' up so high," was the perplexed response.
SOUNDED GOOD TO HER.
"Oh, mother," cried Mabel, who had never visited in the
country, "I've just received a letter from my schoolmate, inviting
me to spend two weeks on her father's farm."
Mabel's mother looked up, languidly, as she remarked:
"Yes, dear; and what does she say about the society in the
neighborhood? Does she mention any one?"
"No," thoughtfully answered Mabel, "but I've heard her speak
so many times of the Holsteins and the Guernseys."
"Oh, well," said the mother, "I presume they are real nice
people. Yes, you can go."
WANTED TO BE RIGHT.
A sergeant was drilling the recruit squad in the use of the
rifle. All went well until blank cartridges were distributed. The
recruits were instructed to load their pieces and stand at "ready,"
and then the sergeant gave the command :
"Fire at will!"
Private Luhn was puzzled. As he lowered his gun, he asked
in deep perplexity:
"Which one is Will?"
160 WIT AND HUMOR
TELLING HER TROUBLES.
A woman walked into the office adjoining the courtroom one
busy day, and said to the judge:
"Are you the reprobate judge?"
"I am the probate judge, madam."
"That's what I mean," she continued ; "you see, I have come
to you because I'm in trouble. My husband has died detested,
and left me three little infidels, and I have come to you to be
appointed as their executioner."
BEHIND THE TIMES.
A traveling-salesman found himself in a village hotel dining-
room when a heavy rain set in.
"Mary," said he, addressing the waitress, "it looks like the
"Like what?" the girl asked, blankly.
"The flood. You have read of the flood, and how the ark
landed on Mount Ararat, haven't you?"
"No, Mister," she admitted, indifferently, "I haven't seen a
paper for several days."
SOME LIVE ONES EMPTY.
"I say, Granville, have you heard that joke about the guide
in Rome who showed some travelers two skulls of Saint Paul —
one as a boy and the other as a man?"
"Ah, no, deah boy — aw, tell me about it."
"The collection in this museum seems very incomplete," re-
marked Mrs. Halford. whose husband had recently come into
possession of great wealth ; "for one thing, I haven't seen a skull
of Cromwell. They have a very fine one in the museum at
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS UiJ
TURNED HIM DOWN.
She shoved a check through the window at the bank without
looking at the cashier, who said to her pleasantly:
"Madam, you will have to get some one to introduce you
before I can cash this check for you."
"Sir!" she replied, haughtily, "I'm here on business, and not
making a social call. I do not care to know you !"
ONLY SLIGHTLY INJURED.
Mrs. Wade had no imagination, so her husband said. At the
supper-table he mentioned he had read in the newspaper that a
passenger on a transatlantic steamer had fallen overboard in mid-
ocean and had never been seen again.
"Was he drowned?" asked Mrs. Wade.
"Oh, no, of course not," replied her husband, "but he sprained
his ankle quite severely, I believe."
IN THE SAME OLD PLACE.
Mr. Jappolin had been a great traveler, and couldn't keep
still about it. Everything that happened reminded him of some-
thing else. His friend Mattox was admiring a very beautiful
sunset one evening, when Jappolin broke in :
"Ah, my friend, you should just see the sunsets in the East!"
"I should like to, very much," said Mattox; "how strange it
must seem. The sun always sets in the west in this country."
The manager of a factory engaged a new man, and a few
days afterward inquired of the foreman how the fellow was
progressing with his work. The foreman, who was disgusted
with the newcomer's stupidity, said, angrily:
"Progressing! Why, I've taught him all I know, and he's
still an ignorant fool!"
162 WIT AND HUMOR
PERISH THE THOUGHT!
Mrs. Franklin, who had just returned from an extensive
tour, was relating some of her experiences to her friend, Mrs.
Newton, who had only recently acquired riches, and said:
"Yes, while we were in Egypt we visited the Pyramids. Some
of them were literally covered with hieroglyphics."
"Ugh! The horrid things!" said Mrs. Newton, shuddering;
"wasn't you afraid some of 'em would get on you?"
HEAD MUCH LIKE STATUE.
Josiah Quincy told how he was once identified by a laborer
who was enlightening a friend. "That is Josiah Quincy," said
the first laborer.
"And who is he?" asked the other.
"Don't you know who Josiah Quincy is?" roared the first
man. "I never saw sich ignorance. Why, he's the grandson of
the statue out there in the yard."
A NEW LANGUAGE.
Bobby was out with his mother on some of her calls. At one
place the hostess said to him:
"And so your little baby brother can talk now?"
"Yes'm, he can say some words real well."
"How lovely! And what words are they?"
"I don't know. I never heard any of them before."
THEY DON'T MIX WELL.
It is said a book-agent in Milwaukee tried to sell a set of
Shakespeare to a wealthy German. After talking for five min-
utes, he was interrupted by his listener, who said, impatiently:
"I don't vant it. I got Pabst's peer, und Schlitz's peer, und
Blatz's peer. I know noddings apout dis Shake's peer, und I
don't vant any."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 163
CAUSE FOR WONDER.
Bridget, fresh from Ireland, stared at the baby's toy balloon,
which wavered at a place two or three feet higher than her head,
and was anchored to the back of a chair.
"Tis quare and wonderful, entirely!" she said in amazement,
raising her hands, "to see it up, and balancin' its own self — and
it a-shtandin' on a shtring !"
A number of tourists were looking down the crater of
Vesuvius, when an American remarked to his companion:
"That looks a good deal like the infernal regions."
An English woman near by, who overheard him, said to her
"My! How these Americans do travel!"
SURE OF ONE NOAH.
A member of the Nebraska Legislature was making a speech
on a momentous question, when he exclaimed:
"In the words of the great Daniel Webster, who wrote the
dictionary, 'Give me liberty or give me death!'"
One of his colleagues pulled at his coat and whispered, hur-
"Daniel Webster didn't write the dictionary; it was Noah."
"Noah, nothing!" replied the speaker. "Noah built the ark!"
HE MEANT ALL RIGHT.
In a New England village a man entered the main department
store and said to the clerk at the book counter :
"Let me have, please, the 'Letters of Charles Lamb.' "
"Post-office right across the street," said the affable clerk,
with a smile.
164 WIT AND HUMOR
"Evidently, that young man I met at your party dees not
know who I am," remarked Mr. Dorris, to his wife.
"What makes you think so?"
"If he appreciated the extent of my financial influence, he
would have laughed at my jokes instead of my grammar."
Passing a swimming-pool in a small city, two countrywomen
read the sign at the entrance:
"25,000 Gals. In and Out Every Minute."
"That's all nonsense," said one of the women ; "there ain't
that many women in this whole town."
The young woman from Boston inquired :
"Do you care for 'Crabbe's Tales'?"
"I never ate any," replied the Chicago girl, "but I'm just dead
stuck on lobsters."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 165
Example is a dangerous lure. Where the gnat got through the wasp
stuck fast. — La Fontaine.
DIDN'T DISTURB HER.
An English rector preached a sermon on the fate of the
wicked. Meeting a woman noted as a gossip, he said :
"I hope my sermon has borne fruit in your mind. You heard
what I said about the place where there shall be wailing and
gnashing of teeth, didn't you?"
"Well, as to that," replied the woman, "let them that has
teeth gnash 'em — I ain't got any."
EXPECTING A RUSH.
"Chester, now that you're through college, you must begin
looking for employment of some kind."
"But, don't you think, father, it would be more dignified to
wait until the offers begin coming in."
COULD MANAGE HIM.
A colored man had been arrested on a charge of beating and
cruelly misusing his wife. After hearing the charge against the
prisoner, the judge turned to the first witness, and said:
"Madam, if this were your husband, and he had given you a
beating, would you call in the police?"
The woman addressed, who was large and of an aggressive
disposition, answered, good-naturedly:
"No, Jedge. If he was mah husban', an' he treated me dat
way, Ah shore wouldn't call no policeman. No, sah. Ah'd call
1166 WIT AND HUMOR
As the subject for their weekly essays the teacher asked the
pupils to write out what they would do if they had $1,000,000.
All heads were bent to the desk, save one, and pens scratched
busily. Henry calmly sat doing nothing. When the teacher
collected the papers, he handed in a blank sheet.
"How's this?" asked the teacher; "all the others have written
at least two sheets, while you did nothing."
"Well," replied the youth, "that's what I'd do if I was a
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 167
Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have
lost. — Thomas Fuller.
THE WHOLE TRUTH.
A small boy, who had recently passed his fifth birthday, was
riding in a suburban car with his mother, when the conductor
asked the question:
"How old is the boy?"
After being told the correct age, which did not require a fare,
he passed on. The boy was silent for several seconds, and then,
as if concluding that full information had not been given, called
loudly to the conductor, near the other end of the car:
"And mother is thirty-seven!"
WHY, OF COURSE.
Jimmie : "How do they get the water in the watermelon ?"
Mary: "By planting them in the spring, I guess."
The following were among some rules posted in a country
"Guests desiring to get up without being called may have self-
rising flour for supper."
"Baseball players in need of practice will find a pitcher on
the washstand and a bat in the cave."
"Guests wishing to do a little driving will find hammer and
nails in the basement."
"Any one troubled with nightmare will find a halter in the
168 WIT AND HUMOR
"Pop," inquired a little black boy, "what is a milleenium dat
I hear's de preacher talkin' 'bout?"
"Sho!" said his father, with a pretentious wave of the hand,
"doan' yo' know what a milleenium am, chile? I sho' is 'sprised
at yo' ignorance. Why, a milleenium is jes' 'bout de same as a
centennial, only it am got mo' legs."
READY FOR BUSINESS.
When the train stopped at a little station in the South, a
tourist from the North walked out and gazed curiously at a lean
animal with scraggy bristles, rubbing itself against a scrub-oak.
"What do you call that?" he asked a native.
"Razor-back hawg, suh."
"What's he rubbing himself against the tree for?"
"He's stropping hisself, suh, jes' stropping hisself."
WHERE EVERYTHING FOLDS.
"Well," some one asked a Westerner, who was moving to
New York, "have you furnished your new flat yet?"
"No, not quite. By the way, can you tell me where I can
buy a folding toothbrush?"
IT PROVED FATAL.
"Hello, Pat! I hear your dog is dead. What did he die of?
W r hat was the complaint?"
"No complaint, sor ; every one in the neighborhood appears to
be well satisfied."
"But what I want to know is, how did it occur?"
"The dog was no cur; he was a thoroughbred."
"Now, come along. Tell me, what disease did he die of?"
"Oh, well ; he jumped in to fight a circular saw, and only
lasted one round."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 169
DOWN THE YEARS.
One of the attractions at a church fair was a fortune-teller's
booth. A lady took her ten-year-old, red-haired, freckle-faced
"Your son will be a very distinguished man, if he lives long
enough," said the fortune-teller.
"Oh, how good!" gushed the mother, proudly; "and what
will he be distinguished for?"
"His old age," was the reply.
EACH KNEW HIS PLACE.
Enraged over something the local newspaper had printed about
him, a subscriber burst into the editor's office in search of the
"Who are you ?" he demanded, glaring at the editor, who was
also the main stockholder.
"I'm the newspaper," he calmly replied.
"And who are you?" he next roared, turning his bulging gaze
on the colored office devil, who was clearing out the waste-
"Me?" said the darky, grinning from ear to ear; "why, de
boys aroun' heah calls me de cull'd supplement, suh,"
1 70 WIT AND HUMOR
There is no paradise on earth equal to the union of love and inno-
cence. — Rousseau.
"What yo' t'ink is de mattah wif me, Doctah?" asked Rastus,
"Oh, nothing very serious — only a light case of chicken-pox,"
said the physician.
Rastus immediately became very nervous, as he earnestly
"Doctah, I'se tellin' yo' de troof; I ain't been nowhar dat I
could 'a' kotched dem chicken-pox."
NO USE LOOKING THERE.
"If ye please, mum," said the tramp in an appealing voice, as
he stood at the back door of the cottage on wash-day, "I've lost
my leg, and — "
"Well, I ain't got it !" snapped the woman, as she closed the
door with a bang.
NOT IN THE GAME.
Jerry, thinking to enliven the party, stated, with his watch in
"I'll presint a box av candy to the lady that makes the home-
liest face within the next three minutes."
When the time expired, Jerry announced :
"Ah, Mrs. McGuire, ye get the prize."
"Go way wid ye !" protested Mrs. McGuire ; "I wasn't playin'
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS m
PROUD OF HIS FATHER.
Mr. Jameson came home in the evening with a feeling of
pride, and, as soon as the family were seated around the table,
told them of a street fight which he broke up, adding :
"One of the men was coming at the other with a spade, and if
I hadn't stepped in between them, he would have beat his brains
There was a slight pause, when Jameson's little son spoke
"He couldn't beat any brains out of you, could he, papa?"
There was a long silence, while Mrs. Jameson thought in
vain of something to say to relieve the oppressive situation.
1 72 WIT AND HUMOR
The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he
must be no simpleton that plays that part. — Cervantes.
AS HE GOT IT.
The farmer was on a business trip to the city, and decided to
take some kind of a present home to his wife. Stepping into a
store, he asked one of the lady clerks to show him some shirt-
waists. Just before reaching for the boxes, she looked around
The farmer quickly glanced toward the door, as he answered.
"I don't know, Miss. I didn't hear nothing."
JUST WHAT SHE WANTED.
Hildah had not given good satisfaction in the new family
where she had been working two or three weeks, so the mistress
finally said to her :
"Unless you improve, Hildah, we have decided to hire another
"Ay t'ank you, lady; Ay t'ank you. I bane need some help,
but didna lake to spake t' ye aboot it."
THE PROPER PLACE.
The judge looked at the prisoner keenly for a few moments,
and then said:
"It strikes me forcibly I have seen your face before."
"That's where I always wear it," replied the prisoner.
Then the court laughed, and it took some time to restore
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 173
REASONS FOR GROWTH.
The keeper was feeding the pythons. Several live rabbits
were tossed into the cage, and were greedily seized by the rep-
tiles. The struggling rabbits, although seemingly almost as large
as the snakes, were swallowed whole, one after another. The
ghastly sight prompted a scholarly-looking spectator to exclaim:
"Gruesome, eh, Mr. Keeper?"
"Yes, and you'd 'a' grew some, too, if you'd et all that live
stock," said the keeper, with a scornful glance at the questioner.
THE FATAL PAUSE.
"All my success in life," proudly said the millionaire, who
was addressing a class at a business college, "I owe to one thing
— pluck, pluck, pluck."
Here he made an impressive pause, but the effect was ruined
by a dull student, who asked:
"Yes, sir; but will you please tell us something about how
and whom to pluck?"
GAVE THE PREACHER A TIP.
"Do you know where little boys go who fish on Sunday?"
inquired the preacher of a small boy with a pole over his
"Yes, sir ; us kids around here all goes down ter Walnut Creek,
jest below the new bridge. Come, go with us, if yer likes."
ONE SIDE OF THE QUESTION.
A member of a camping party was shaving himself outside
the tent one summer morning, it being both hot and dark inside.
Another camper, strolling by, remarked:
"I see you are shaving on the outside this morning."
"Naturally," was the snappy answer; "d'ye think I'm lined
174 WIT AND HUMOR
MUST HAVE BEEN ANOTHER.
A pretty young lady stepped up to a counter in a music-store
where the new clerk was arranging some songs. As he turned
to wait upon her, she said, in her sweetest and most appealing-
"Have you 'Kissed Me in the Moonlight'?"
"No, ma'am," said he, in confusion, as his face reddened; "it
— it must have been the man at the other counter. I've only
been here a week, and do not remember ever seeing you before."
JUST AS YOU VIEW IT.
Among the responses to the offer of a prize by a London
paper for the best definition of a baby, were the following :
"The morning caller, noonday crawler, midnight brawler."
"A native of all countries, who speaks the language of none."
"A stranger with unspeakable cheek, that enters the house
without a stitch to his back, and is received with open arms by
"An inhabitant of Lapland."
"The most extensive employer of female labor."
This answer received the prize :
"A tiny feather from the wing of love dropped into the
sacred lap of motherhood."
MORE THAN NECESSARY.
A small boy was asked if he knew what was meant by energy
"No, sir, I don't think I do," he said.
"Well, I will tell you, my boy. One of the richest men in the
world came here without a shirt on his back, and now he has
"Millions!" ejaculated the boy; "how many does he put on al
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [75
THE CONDUCTOR'S REGRET.
Two ladies had been to the opera, and were discussing it on
their way home in the street-car.
"I think 'Lohengrin' is wonderful," said one.
"Yes, it's good," assented the other, "but I just dearly love
The conductor blushed, as he said, apologetically:
"I'm sorry, Miss. I'm married. You might try the motor-
man, though. I think he's single."
SETTING THE DATE.
A merchant in a Wisconsin town, who had a Swedish clerk,
sent him out to do some collecting. When he returned from an
unsucessful trip, he reported:
"Yim Yonson say he pay you ven he sell him hogs. Yim
Oleson, he pay ven he sell him wheat, and Bill Pack say he pay
"Well," said the boss, "that's the first time Bill ever set a
date to pay. Did he really say he would pay in January?"
"Veil, Ay tank so," said the clerk. "He say it bane a cold
day ven you get that money. Ay tank that bane in Yanuary."
IN THE SAME LINE.
In endeavoring to explain the lesson on the Parable of the
Tares, a Sunday-school teacher asked his class of boys :
"Do any of you know any one who is like the evil one who
sowed the tares?"
"My mother is!" instantly replied one of the boys, to the
astonishment of the teacher, who asked:
"Why, Charley, what do you mean?"
"Well, she is. She sews all the tears at our house," insisted
the boy, eyeing his patched trousers; "she's the only one who
176 WIT AND HUMOR
"I TOLD YOU SO."
A young girl from a country town went to a city boarding-
school, much against the wish of her father, who thought she
would be spoiled by city ways. Soon she wrote in one of her
"I am much in love with ping-pong."
The mother read the letter aloud to the father, who turned
upon her angrily, saying:
"You can see now I was right. I knew no good would come
of her going to the city. Now, you see, she's head over heels in
love with one of those blamed Chinamen."
SAVED A WORD.
It is said that a number of years ago a letter was received
at the Chicago post-office bearing the following address :
Nothing else appeared on the envelope. It went through the
departments for undecipherable mail, and finally was sent to
John Underwood, Andover, Mass. (John under Wood and over
Mass.), who proved to be the person for whom it was intended.
When the term of the old negro preacher had expired, he
arose and said :
"Breddren, de time am heah fo' de delection ob yo' pastah
fo' anudder yeah. All dose faborin' me fo' yo' pastah will please
say 'Aye.' "
The preacher had made himself rather unpopular, and there
was no response.
"Silence alius gibs consent," he said; "I'se yo' pastah fo*
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 177
TOO MUCH CURIOSITY.
A mother went into a shoestore, accompanied by her little
son. A clerk came briskly forward, and, learning that shoes
were wanted for the boy, looked at him intently for a moment.
"French kid?" he said.
"None of your business whether he be French or Irish,"
flushed the mother. "I want a pair of shoes for 'im."
GAVE HERSELF AWAY.
"Get away, or I'll call my husband," said the hard-faced
woman, who had just refused a tramp some food.
"Oh, no, you won't," said the tramp, calmly, "because he ain't
"How do you know?" the woman asked, wonderingly.
"Because a man who marries a woman like you is home only
at meal-times," said the tramp, as he started for the gate.
ALL SAW THE POINT.
An eccentric instructor was explaining a piece of mechanism
to his class. Placing his finger upon the handle and turning it,
he said, thoughtfully:
"You notice that this machine is turned by a crank."
Then he looked up in amazement, as they all tittered.
FAR FROM AGONIZING.
It was a breach of promise case, and the rustic defendant
was under cross-examination.
"Now, tell me," said the attorney, sternly, "on the evening of
the sixteenth, when you bade her good-by, did she suffer you
to kiss her?"
"Well," said the witness, deliberately, "I reckon now I did
give her a kiss or two; but there wasn't much sufferin' about it,
as I could see,"
V78 WIT AND HUMOR
ONE OF THEM CALLED.
Harry: "What are descendants, papa?"
Father: "Why, the people who come after us." (Later.)
"Who is that young man in the hall, Harry?"
"That's one of sister's descendants. I guess he's come to
take her out for a drive."
THOUGHTFUL OF DUMB CREATURES.
"Suits to protect cattle," she read aloud, adding: "Now, isn't
that nice of the Government ! I suppose they'll furnish each of
the poor, dear cows a good, warm blanket."
Satisfied with this glimpse at the news of the great world, she
turned to the realities of the fashion columns.
The manager of a hotel, who had heard of the whereabouts
of a man who had skipped out, leaving a bill unpaid, sent him this
"Will you please send me the amount of your bill, and oblige."
With no unnecessary delay came this answer:
"The amount is $8.75. Respectfully yours," etc.
NOT A THEATRICAL STAR.
A college graduate was walking down the street one evening
with a friend of Irish descent, and, pausing to look up at the
starry sky, remarked, with enthusiasm:
"How bright Orion is to-night!"
"So, that is O'Ryan, is it?" replied Pat. "Well, thank the
Lord, there's one Irishman in heaven, anyhow."
TOO MUCH FOR THE CAT.
Mrs. Wyckoff was away on a visit to her parents, and wrote
the following card to her next-door neighbor at home;
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [79
"Dear Mrs. Goodrich: — If it is not asking too much, will
you please put out a little food on our back porch every day or
so for the little tramp cat I have been feeding lately? The cat
will eat almost anything, but please do not put yourself out."
"This clock," explained the dealer, "will run eight days with-
"Wonderful I" exclaimed Mrs. Nevins, "and how long will it
go if you wind it?"
KNEW HER OWN MIND.
"Now, these two boys are sister's," said a stout woman to the
"You mean brothers," knowingly commented the census-man.
"I'd have you understand that I mean just what I say," was
the snappy retort. "They are my sister's. She lives down the
street here a-ways — in the little yellow house with brown trim-
180 WIT AND HUMOR
If people are unwilling to hear you, better it is to hold your tongue
than them. — Lord Chesterfield.
HAD BEEN TRAINED.
"Elsie," the teacher asked, "when do you say Thank you'?"
The girl's face lighted up instantly, for that was the one
thing she knew, and she answered:
"When we have company."
WENT TOO FAR.
First Tramp: "After all, it pays to be polite, pardner."
Second Tramp : "Not always. The other day I was actin'
deaf and dumb, when a man gave me a dime. I said, Thank
you, sir,' and he had me arrested."
Riding in an omnibus up Regent Street, says the London
Spectator, was an old lady, who much annoyed the other passen-
gers by her remarks. The conductor remonstrated with her,
"Madam, remember you are in a public vehicle, and that you
should behave as such."
AND MORE CIVIL PASSENGERS.
"I say," said an old lady, with a highly pitched voice, as the
train slowed down at a station, "I say, what's all this talk about
educating boys to be civil engineers? The thing this here coun-
try needs is a few more civil conductors and less sassy brake-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS HH
ALL THE SAME TO HIM.
"Oh, thank you," said a lady to a laborer, who gave her his
seat in a crowded car.
"That's all right, mum," was the cheerful response. "Some
men never gives up their seat unless a woman's young and pretty,
but it makes no difference at all to me."
BETTER THAN ASKING.
"I hope you didn't ask for a second piece of pie when you
were at Joel Hickman's for dinner," said the mother.
"No, mamma," replied the boy, proudly; "I wouldn't do a
thing like that — of course not. I just asked Mrs. Hickman for
the recipe, so you could make some pie like it, and she gave
me another piece right away."
AND WHY NOT?
"Maurice," said the mother, severely, "it wasn't polite of you
to ask Mrs. Filgate her age, especially after she made you such a
nice Christmas gift. It made her very angry."
"Why, did it, mamma ?" said the boy, in surprise. "She asked
me first, and I didn't get mad about it."
THOUGHT IT WAS UP TO HOSTS.
Gustave Schlorff and wife were not used to late hours, so
one evening, when several of the neighbors called and stayed
until a"bout ten o'clock, he turned to his companion, with a
yawn, and said:
"Vife, ve petter go to bed; dese peobles might vant to go
182 WIT AND HUMOR
Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor's nose. — Von Logan.
A QUICK DIAGNOSIS.
A young physician had been called to testify in a case which
depended upon technical evidence, and opposing counsel in the
cross-examination asked several sarcastic questions about the
knowledge and skill of the witness.
"Are you," he asked, "entirely familiar with the symptoms of
concussion of the brain?"
"Then, I will ask your opinion of a hypothetical case. Were
my learned friend, Mr. Banks, and myself to bang our heads
together, should we get concussion of the brain?"
"Mr. Banks might," was the quiet answer.
Among the patients in a hospital was one disposed to be dis-
couraged as to his chances for recovery.
"Cheer up," admonished the somewhat youthful physician in
charge of the ward. "Your symptoms are almost identical with
those of my own case four years ago. I was just as ill as you
are. Look at me now, and take hope."
"Yes, but what doctor did you have ?" the patient feebly asked.
ALWAYS A PESSIMIST.
"Well, Matthew, and how are you now?"
"Thankee, Doctor; I be better than I were, but I beant as
well as I were afore I was as bad as I be now."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS \&3
"ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL."
The old family physician being away on a much-needed vaca-
tion, his practice was intrusted to his son, a recent medical
graduate. When the father returned, the young man told him,
among other things, that he had cured Miss Ferguson, an aged
and wealthy spinster, of her chronic indigestion.
"My boy," said the father, "I'm proud of you; but Miss Fer-
guson's indigestion is what paid your way through college. It's
all right, however, now that you've got your diploma."
RELIED ON HIS EXPERIENCE.
Mr. Teller was in poor health, and continually changing physi-
cians. At one time he called in a young man just beginning to
practice in the town, and told him all his ailments, remarking that
he had symptoms of heart trouble of a serious nature.
"Not necessarily," said the young doctor.
This did not please the patient, and in his irritation he looked
accusingly at the other, sternly remarking:
"It isn't for a young physician like you, just out of college,
to disagree with an old and experienced invalid like me, sir."
HE LIKED THE "MEDICINE."
A country doctor, walking out one day with a friend who
boasted he was a stanch teetotaler, resolved to test him. Com-
ing to a hotel with a bar, he asked the friend in and ordered two
glasses of whisky. After they had disposed of these, and two or
three more, at the doctor's expense, his friend began to get
"mushy" in his talk. The doctor then, feeling he had him, bluntly
"How does this square with your teetotal pretensions?"
"Well," said the other, with a quiet smile, "though I'm a
strict teetotaler, I'd be ver' foolish to refuse what the doctor
184 WIT AND HUMOR
WHY CONSIDER THE PATIENT?
Doctor: "I hear the operation by Dr. Britt was a botch."
Friend: "Why, I understand the patient has completely re-
Doctor: "That may be true. I'm not speaking of its effect
on the patient, but of the way it was performed."
PERHAPS A SOUVENIR.
The two youngest sons of a physician got into his consulting-
room, where they began to "play doctors." Presently one of them
unlocked a door, and disclosed a skeleton to the terrorized gaze
of his playmate.
"Pooh! What are you afraid of?" he asked. "It's nothing
but an old skellington."
"Wh-wh- where did it come from?" asked the other, with
"Oh, I don't know. Papa's had it a long time. I 'spect it
was his first patient."
COMMENDED HER CHOICE.
"Oh, Doctor!" exclaimed the woman patient, "I was suffering
so much that I just wanted to die."
"You did right," said the physician, "to call me in at once."
NOT MUCH, BUT A PLENTY.
The physicians had retired to another room to discuss the
patient's condition. In the closet of that room a small boy had
been concealed, by the patient's direction, to listen, and to tell
him what was learned, as he wished genuine information.
"Well, Jack," said the sick man, when the boy later came to
him, "what have you to report?"
"I couldn't understand much," he said; "they used such big
words ; but one said, 'We'll find that out at the autopsy/ "
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 185
KILLED HIS PRACTICE, TOO.
"Ah, sir,*-' he said, sadly, "I've seen some great changes. I
was once a doctor with a large practice, but, owing to one little
slip, my patients began to leave me, and now I'm just living from
hand to mouth."
"What was that slip?"
"Well, sir," he replied, "in filling in a death certificate for a
patient who had died, I absent-mindedly signed my name in the
space headed, 'Cause of Death.' "
MEDICINE TO MATCH.
The doctor looked worried, after examining the baby, then
"Did you get those pills I told you to get yesterday?"
"Well," replied the young mother, "I saw some pink ones
that just matched baby's new bonnet, so I got them instead."
QUOTATION ON FAITH.
During the delivery of a sermon on "Faith," a minister is
quoted as saying:
"You have faith in the physician. He gives you medicine, and
tells you to take it. You do so, and ask no questions. 'Yours
not to reason why ; yours but to do and die.' "
NO USE FOR IT.
An old colored man visited a doctor, and was given definite
instructions as to what he should do. Shaking his head, he
started to leave the office, when the doctor said:
"Here, Sambo, you forgot to pay me."
"Pay yo' fo' what, boss?"
"For my advice."
"Naw, suh; naw, suh. I ain't gwine ter take it," and Sambo
186 WIT AND HUMOR
HE GAVE IT UP.
"No use/' growled Mr. Lohman, to his wife, from the bath-
room. "I just can't do it."
"What is it, dear?" she asked, anxiously.
"Why, the doctor told me to drink hot water an hour before
dinner, for my indigestion. Here I've got a quart and a half
down, and I'm nearly bursting — and I haven't been at it more
than fifteen minutes yet."
NOT TO DISAPPOINT.
Professor : "If a person, in good health, but who thought him-
self sick, should send for you, what would you do?"
Medical Student : "Give him something to make him sick,
then administer an antidote."
Professor: "Don't waste any more time here. Go on and
hang out your shingle."
HER FAVORITE COLOR.
The little girl timidly asked the drug clerk for a package of
"What do you want it for, woolen or cotton goods?" kindly
inquired the clerk.
"Oh, sir, neither. It's for mamma's stomach. The doctor said
she'd have to diet, and so she wants it a pretty color."
IN SORE STRAITS.
In order to help "Children's Day," a Missouri newspaper pub-
lished items collected by children of twelve years of age and
under. This one slipped through and was published just as
"Mr. Calvin Butler is very ill. Doctor Barber and Doctor
Hayden each visits him twice a day. Therefore his recovery is
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [87
WHEN SURE OF AN ORDER.
A physician, passing a stonemason's shop, called out:
"Good morning, Mr. Springer. Hard at it, I see. I suppose
you finish them as far as 'In Memory of/ then wait to see who
wants a monument next ?"
"Well, yes," was the reply, "unless I hear somebody's ill and
you're attending them, then I keep right on."
"Tell me candidly, Doctor, do you think I'll pull through?"
"Oh, you're bound to get well," replied the physician. "Sta-
tistics prove that, out of every one hundred cases like yours, one
patient invariably recovers. I've treated ninety-nine cases, and
every one of them died, so it's your turn to live."
"Do you think, Roderick," asked a slim-looking man of his
companion, "that Dr. Henderson's medicine does any good?"
"Yes, if you follow the directions."
"What are the directions?"
"Keep the bottle tightly corked."
"My hair is coming out," said a man to his doctor. "Can
you give me something to keep it in?"
"Well," said the physician, "here's an old pill-box you are
PLENTY OF EVIDENCE.
A physician, upon presenting his bill to the executor of the
estate of a deceased patient, asked:
"Do you wish to have my bill sworn to?"
"No; the death of the patient is sufficient evidence of your
188 WIT AND HUMOR
Finding a lady reading "Twelfth Night," a facetious physician
"When Shakespeare wrote about 'Patience on a monument/
did he mean doctors' patients?"
"No," said the woman, "you find them under the monuments."
RIGHT- IN HIS LINE.
An aviator was not feeling very well, so called on a physi-
cian, to whom he was a stranger, and related his symptoms. The
doctor examined him carefully, and said:
"My dear sir, there's nothing particularly the matter with
you. What you need is plenty of fresh air."
HOW HE SAW IT.
"So you intend to become a physician when you grow up?"
"Yes, sir," answered the youth.
"And why have you decided upon the medical profession?"
"Well, I have thought over it a good deal, and the doctor is
the only man that keeps on getting paid, whether his work is all
right or not."
A CLOSE SECOND.
"I just heard that your son is an undertaker. I thought you
told me he was a physician?"
"No, not at all."
"I don't like to contradict you, my dear sir, but I'm positive
you said so."
"You misunderstood me. I said he follows the medical pro-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 189
His wit invites you by his looks to come,
But, when you knock, it never is at home. — Cowper*
Mrs. Hunter was a stout woman, and when she went to the
theater, always bought two seats, in order that she might have
plenty of room. One afternoon she attended a matinee. When
she handed the reserved-seat stubs to the usher, he politely asked :
"Where is the party who is going to use the other seat?"
"I'm going to occupy both seats myself," she explained.
"You can't do it," he informed her.
"Well," said she, flaring up immediately, "that's very strange !
I'll see the manager about it, sir!"
"It will do no good, lady," said the usher, visibly embar-
rassed. "You see, the seats are on opposite sides of the aisle."
MEMORY AND HEARING CLASH.
The President was receiving at the White House one evening,
assisted by his usual staff of officers and their ladies. Among the
guests was a tailor, who gloried in the patronage of the Chief
Executive and other notables at the Capital. When introduced,
however, the President could not catch his name, and, while shak-
ing hands with him, remarked :
"Your face, sir, is familiar, but I can't just now call your
To assist his memory, the tailor whispered in his ear :
"I made your pants."
"Ah! Why, yes! Major Pants. Gentlemen, my friend, Majoi
190 WIT AND HUMOR
A LITTLE TOO SLOW.
"It is always unwise to jump at conclusions," said the cautious
man. "You're liable to make yourself ridiculous, to say the
"That's right," said a listener. "I once jumped at the con-
clusion of a ferry-boat, mistook the distance, and fell into the
"Did you get out again?" dryly inquired an absent-minded
man who was standing near.
THREE IN A ROW.
As a man entered a picture-gallery, the attendant tapped him
on the shoulder, and, pointing to a small cur that followed him,
"Dogs are not admitted here."
"It's not my dog."
"But he followed you."
"So did you," replied the man, sharply.
The attendant growled, and so did the dog, as he removed it
with unnecessary violence.
DID THE BEST HE COULD.
The schoolmaster was hearing the reading lesson, and Johnny
got along well until he came to the word "barque," when he
"B-b-b-ba— " he stuttered, helplessly.
The teacher called out, sharply:
"Barque, boy, barque."
Johnny stared at him with a look of perplexity, and the
master's temper rose, as he called out the second time :
"Barque, boy, barque!"
Then Johnny, with a pitiful expression, said:
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 191
OTHER PLACES TO LIVE.
The chauffeur never spoke except when addressed, but his
few utterances, in a broad brogue, were to the point. One of
the men in the party remarked to him :
"You're a bright sort of a fellow; and it's easy to see that
your people came from Ireland."
"No, sor; you're mistaken," replied Pat, cheerily.
"What? Your parents didn't come from Ireland?"
"No, sor; they are there yit."
My yard seemed rather small and mean,
Appeared by far too scant
For all the beans and other greens
That I desired to plant.
But when I struggled with the ground,
And got my hands all rough,
And bent my back, I quickly found
'Twas plenty big enough. — Kansas City Journal.
ACQUAINTED WITH HER.
"Would you mind giving your seat to this lady who is stand-
ing up?" said the conductor, kindly, to a sturdy man who was
"Oh, ho, ho !" the man laughed. "Dot is a good joke on you !
She is not a lady — she is my vife !"
The farmer was taking the newly arrived boarder, a young
lady from the city, to his home. He was driving leisurely along,
when all at once she spied a small herd of calves in a pasture by
"Oh !" she cried out in delight, "look at the cute little cowlets !"
"You're mistaken, Miss," said the farmer, grinning; "them's
192 WIT AND HUMOR
SIGN OF SPRING.
A man well along in years, who was becoming rather deaf,
was crossing over a railroad bridge just as a locomotive under-
neath let out a deafening whistle.
"First robin I've heard this spring," he murmured to himself,
as he touched the horses lightly with the whip.
THOUGHT SHE HEARD HIM.
Mrs. Goodban was waiting dinner for her husband, who was
expected home any minute. Suddenly out in the road a donkey
brayed. The dear wife, who was a little deaf, beamed pleasantly,
as she gave the order:
"Run and put the kettle on, Jane! Husband is coming down
the street. I'd know his laugh anywhere."
ALL IN SAME BOAT.
Mistress : "I told you twice, Bridget, to have muffins for
breakfast. Have you no intellect?"
Bridget: "No, mum. There's none in the house."
PART OF THE FAMILY.
"Who was the gentleman who came in just now?" the mis-
tress inquired of the maid.
"That was no gentleman, mum," was the reply; "it was only
the master come back for his umbrella."
TALKING AT CROSS-POINTS.
A gentleman just back from Europe went into a restaurant,
and, glancing over the bill of fare, said to the waiter, who
approached him with a queer gait:
"Have you frogs' feet?"
"No, sir," was the embarrassed reply; "it's rheumatism that
makes me walk this way."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 193
MADE SAME OLD GUESS.
"I bet your father had trouble making out your left-handed
"Fortunately for me, he had. I wrote to him that after the
football accident my temperature went to 104, and he sent me a
check for that many dollars."
VERY MUCH ALIVE.
"Well, well!" exclaimed the bachelor friend, seeing the baby
for the first time ; "he's the dead image of you, Jack."
"Not much, he isn't," said the young father, who had been up
half the night with the new arrival; "he's the livest image you
ever saw, of me or anything else in this world."
BELIEVED IN INDEPENDENCE.
"You look awfully tired, young man," said a benevolent-look-
ing woman to a young man with books under his arm.
"Yes, ma'am," he replied, "I'm studying for a doctor."
"It's a shame! Why don't you let the doctor study for him-
194 WIT AND HUMOR
Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast. — W. Congreve.
A MATTER OF TASTE.
A wounded Highlander, in a French hospital, was much de-
pressed, and seemed to make no headway toward recovery. He
talked a great deal about his "bonnie Scotland," and the idea
occurred to the doctor that a Scotch piper might rouse his spirits.
One was found, and, following the instructions of the physician,
stationed himself outside the hospital that night, where he played
all the gems of Scottish music the pipes were capable of inter-
preting. The next day the doctor inquired of the nurse the
result of the experiment.
"Oh, he's doing fine," she said. "I never saw such a change
in a patient ; but the other patients have nearly all had a backset."
Miss Katherine Whitney seemed to have the ability to describe
nearly everything in some new way. Upon her return from
a reception, where many interesting people were in attendance,
her aunt asked her if she met Mrs. Gilfillin. Meditating a
moment, she answered in the affirmative, saying she could hardly
get away from her.
"Did you find her very interesting? Did she get on to her
ailments?" inquired the aunt.
"Interesting? And did she get on to her ailments? Well,
Aunt, you should have heard her as she went on about her heart,
and her lungs, and her liver, and her — why, aunt, it was a
regular organ recital."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 195
HE WANTED TO BE SAFE.
Although it wasn't leap year, the old-maid soloist in the vil-
lage choir began her morning melody by screeching out very
"I want a man ! I want a man !"
This was repeated, in whole or in part, after the modern
style of solos and anthems, until a traveling-man who happened
to be in the audience, thinking she was looking straight at him,
decided it was time to leave, so, with hat in hand, started for
the door just as she finished:
"I want a mansion in the sky !"
MANY WONDER AT IT.
Another thing we don't understand about a grand opera
orchestra is why all the fiddlers finish at the same time, when
they are playing different tunes. — Dallas News.
LEAST OF TWO TRIALS.
"Miss Schroeder is going abroad to finish her musical educa-
"Where did she get the money?"
"I understand the neighbors all chipped in."
A farmer and his wife lived near the country church. One
warm Sunday evening, while they sat dozing on the porch, the
crickets began a loud chirping.
"I just love that chirping noise," he said, drowsily, and before
the crickets had ceased he was sound asleep. Soon afterward
the church choir broke into a chant.
"Just listen to that !" exclaimed the wife. "Ain't it beautiful !"
"Yes," drolled her husband, sleepily, "they do it with their
196 WIT AND HUMOR
SHE TRIED IT RIGHT AWAY.
After the orchestra had reached the first part of the symphony,
a woman sitting just behind McKinsey began telling her com-
panion, at great length and in a loud undertone, how delight-
ful it was to listen to music with the eyes closed. He stood it as
long as he could, then, turning to her, said :
"Pardon me, madam, but did you ever try listening to music
with the mouth closed?"
WHY HE HESITATED.
They had been discussing the purchase of a chandelier for
the new church, and every one seemed in favor of it, except
Uncle Eben Billings. When asked to express his views, he arose,
with considerable dignity, and said:
"It ain't fer the likes of me to stop this church from spendin'
money on a chandelier, but when we gets it, there's not a soul in
the whole town as can play it."
SOMETIMES SOUNDS THAT WAY.
Good music and fine poultry were two things of which little
Ella's father was very fond. He bought a talking-machine, and,
among other records, was one of a very brilliant solo by a great
soprano. The little girl listened closely to the runs of the
bewildering music, until the singer struck some high notes and
trills at the close, when she exclaimed, excitedly:
"Daddy, listen! She's laid an eggl"
HARD ON THE NEIGHBOR.
Spurgeon was once asked if the man who learned to play a
cornet on Sunday would go to heaven. His reply was character-
istic of the man. Said he :
"I don't see why he shouldn't, but I doubt whether the man
next door will."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS [97
AS THE BOY INTERPRETED IT.
Harry (just home from school) : "Mother, we had our sing-
ing lesson to-day."
"And how did you get on?"
"All right. Teacher said I sang like a bird."
"Really, did she say that?"
"Well, pretty near; she said I sang like a crow."
A MUSICAL WONDER.
A celebrated vocalist was in a motor-car accident. One of
the papers, after recording the accident, said:
"We are happy to state that he was able to appear the follow-
ing evening in three pieces."
KEPT QUIET AS POSSIBLE.
"Ah," said the visitor, "this village boasts a choral society,
"No," said the native, "we never boast of it."
HAD ALL HE WANTED.
She had been rendering a long, screeching solo at a reception,
when Harkins remarked to Boardwell :
"Surely she's a finished musician, don't you think?"
"I hope so," was the doubting reply; "I was afraid she was
going to sing again."
COULD WORK BOTH WAYS.
"Who is it," inquired Hennessey, "that said if he could make
the songs of a people he wouldn't care who made the laws?"
"I don't know," replied Corsick, who has an ear for music,
"but if he's the fellow who's making the songs of the people
these days, I'd just like to have the making of the laws for
m WIT AND HUMOR
A colored man, on trial for his life in a remote Tennessee
town, was asked by the judge if he had anything to say, where-
upon he replied:
"All I has to say, Jedge, is dis — if you hangs me, you hangs
de best bass singer in Tennessee."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 199
All seems infected that the infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.
— Alexander Pope.
TRUE TO HIS POSITION.
He was a reporter, and one of the first to reach the scene
of the railroad wreck. Rushing up to a battered, prostrate man,
he asked :
"How many were hurt?"
"Haven't heard of any one being hurt," he answered.
"What was the cause of the wreck?"
"Wreck? I haven't heard of any wreck."
"You haven't? Who are you, anyway?"
"I am the claim agent of this railroad."
THE MOST IMPORTANT.
"Well, Aunt Dinah," asked the cook's young mistress, "are
you going to have the word 'obey' eliminated from the marriage
"No, chile, I ain't," said Aunt Dinah; "but I sho' am gwinter
hab it 'limited from de matrimony."
BETTER NOT TRY IT.
"Do you sign this deed of your own free will, madam? I
mean, there has been no compulsion on the part of your husband,
has there ?" asked the attorney.
"What, him?" said the female client, with an expression of
utter contempt, as she indicated her husband ; "I'd like to see the
likes of him try to compulse me, sir !"
200 WIT AND HUMOR
NO NEED OF AN EXTRA LEG.
Farmer Black clung to old-fashioned ways, but Farmer Jack-
son, a neighbor, so far departed from them as to buy an auto-
mobile. One day he was proudly showing it to some friends,
when Black came along.
"Urn," said he, looking at the handsome car, "what's that
thing on the side?"
"That? Why, that's an extra rim and tire. We always carry
an extra one, in case anything happens to one of the wheels."
"Jes* as I allers said," was the disdainful response. "Here I've
druv hosses nigh on to fifty years, and I never had to carry an
extra leg for one of them yet."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 201
When the best things are not possible, the best may be made of
those that are. — Hooker.
READY FOR NEXT JOB.
"How's times around here?" inquired the tourist.
"Pretty tolerable," responded the old man, sitting idly on the
stump of a tree; "I had a pile of brush to burn, and the lightning
set fire to it and saved me the trouble of burnin' it."
"That was good."
"Yes, and I had some trees to cut down, but the cyclone took
'em down for me and saved me the trouble."
"Remarkable! But what are you doing now?"
"Oh, jest waiting for an earthquake to come along and shake
the taters out of the ground."
NOT THE WORST THING.
Vicar: "Amid all your troubles, Mrs. Abbott, I am pleased
to see that your gratitude to Providence does not fail."
"No, sir; rheumatism is bad," said she, "but I thank Heaven
I still have a back to have it in."
HOW HE MANAGED IT.
"So it was once your ambition to have a business of your
"Yes ; nothing else would satisfy me then."
"But your ship didn't come in? That's too bad."
"Oh, I don't know. I found that there was plenty of stevedore
work to be done unloading other people's ships, so I got along
202 WIT AND HUMOR
ALL FOR THE BEST.
There had been a dreadful flood in Missouri. One man, who
had lost nearly everything he possessed, including a lot of poultry,
was sitting on the roof of his house as it floated along. He was
gazing out over the vast stretch of water, when a neighbor in a
boat approached and called out:
"Hello, Bill! Did all your fowls wash away?"
"Yes, but the ducks can swim. I reckon they're all right."
"Peach-trees gone, too, eh?"
"Well, they said the crop would be a failure, anyhow."
"I see the water is way above your windows."
"That's all right, Sam. Them winders needed washin' mighty
"If you are on the Grouchy Track,
Get a transfer.
Just take a Happy Special back —
Get a transfer.
Jump on the train and pull the rope
That lands you at the station Hope —
Get a transfer."
ONE CAUSE FOR JOY.
"Hey! What? Ain't yer vaccination healed up yet?" said
one boy to another; "don't it make yer mad?"
"Naw! De doctor told ma I mustn't take a bath till it's all
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 203
Those who seek to please everybody please nobody. — Msop.
THE 'PHONE BELL.
She ran to cook his pancakes, and the 'phone bell rang.
She rushed to start the coffee, and the 'phone bell rang.
Breakfast? He went without it;
"Good-by," they had to shout it.
She would have wept about it, but the 'phone bell rang.
She tried to dress the children, and the 'phone bell rang.
She went to wash the dishes, and the 'phone bell rang.
The parlor needed dusting,
The chafing-dish was rusting,
And the silverware disgusting; but the 'phone bell rang.
All day the housework waited, while the 'phone bell rang.
No time for rest or labor, when the 'phone bell rang.
At last he came to fold her
In his arms. "Poor girl!" he told her;
For a second he consoled her — and the 'phone bell rang.
— Newark News.
IN A DILEMMA.
"Remember, Bridget," said the lady to the new maid, "there
are just two things I insist upon: truthfulness and obedience."
"Yis, mum," was the reply; "and when yez tell me to tell the
callers that yez be out, when yer in, which do yez prefa'er —
troothfulness or obadience?"
DIDN'T LOOK CONSISTENT.
"Why don't you go in?" asked one tramp of another, as they
stood before the gate. "Dat dog's all right. Don't you see he's
waggin' his tail?"
"Sure, I do; but he's a-growlin', too, and I don't know which
end to believe."
204 WIT AND HUMOR
DIFFERENT IN AMERICA.
An Englishman was attending his first ball game. He seemed
uneasy after the fifth inning, and finally said to his American
"I say, old chap, when do they serve tea?"
"They don't serve tea at all at a ball game."
"No tea between innings?" gasped the Englishman. "Then,
what's the object of the bloomin' game?"
LOOKED MIXED TO HIM.
"Now, remember, children," said the Sunday-school teacher,
"the tares represent the bad people and the wheat the good ones."
"Well, that's funny," said a rosy-cheeked boy, thoughtfully;
"it's the wheat that always gets threshed; the tares don't."
Mr. Kimball was an ardent worker in the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and told his wife a pathetic
tale of a donkey he had rescued from a cruel master that morn-
ing. When he had finished, she said, proudly:
"John, I'm so glad you told me. I shall never see a donkey
again without thinking of you."
HAD HIM GUESSING.
"Photography is a strange business," mused the young man.
"Because it develops negatives, I presume?" queried the
young woman, with a queer accent on the word "negative."
"Not exactly that. But, as an example, the other day I had
my picture taken in my riding-clothes — not on a horse, you
understand, but just standing in my riding outfit, with my whip
in my hand. And to-day I received a letter from the photog-
rapher, stating that the pictures are all mounted and ready for
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 205
VERY NATURAL QUESTION.
A rather stupid young fellow saw a sign which read: "Ring
the bell for the gardener." He walked up and pulled the cord.
A red-faced man soon appeared and inquired what he wanted.
"Are you the gardener?" asked the young man.
"Yes. What do you want?"
"I saw the sign there, so rang the bell, and now I'd like to
know why you can't ring the bell yourself?"
ONE WAY OUT OF DILEMMA.
At a masquerade for children, a policeman, stationed at the
door, stopped an excited woman who demanded admittance, ex-
plaining that he had orders to admit no one but children.
"But, my child is dressed as a butterfly," exclaimed the
woman, "and has forgotten her wings."
"Can't help it. Orders is orders," said the officer. "You'll
have to let her go as a caterpillar, I guess."
LABOR BRINGS SUCCESS.
"Congressman Fording, your constituents can not understand
your speech on the Federal reserve banking system."
"Good ! It took me seven hours to write it that way."
OUGHT TO KNOW SOON.
A traveler in Maine met a middle-aged farmer, who said his
father, eighty-five years old, was still on the farm where he
was born, and asked him:
"Is his health good now?"
"'Tain't much now. He's been complainin' for some time
"What seems to be the matter with him?"
"I dunno. Sometimes I think maybe farmin* don't agree
206 WIT AND HUMOR
SKEPTICAL ABOUT IT.
Uncle Remus was in deep study, and finally relieved his mind
"I'se done read in de papers dat some o' dese yer flyin'
gemmen says a man in one o' dem aryplanes kin do anything a
"That's what they say," responded Aunt Chloe, wondering
what was coming next. He continued :
"Well, when any o' dem sees a man sittin' fas' asleep, holdin'
on to a tree branch wif his feet, I sho' wants dem to call dis
yer niggah fo' to see de sight — dat's all!"
NOT AS THEY SEEM.
"I can't get English through my head;
It puzzles me, indeed.
I think that I am writing 'lead,'
But find I'm writing 'lead.' "
A man noted for his ready wit and cutting sarcasm slipped
on the ice and fell. A clergyman of his acquaintance happened
to be near, and helped him to his feet, remarking:
"Sinners stand on slippery ground, don't they, John?"
"Yes," was the retort, "but I don't see how they do it."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 207
Purposes, like eggs, unless hatched into action, will run into decay. —
WHAT SHE NEEDED.
Mrs. Simmons, visiting at the home of Mrs. Newberry, in-
quired concerning her daughter, saying she had not seen her for
a long time.
"Oh, Minnie is at college," proudly responded Mrs. Newberry,
adding: "But I am so worried about her. I haven't had a letter
from her for over two weeks. She's such a poor hand to write,
"There's where you made a mistake," commented Mrs. Sim-
mons. "Instead of letting her go to college, why didn't you
send her to one of those correspondence schools?"
A HARD PRESCRIPTION.
Anxious Mother : "It was after nine o'clock when Clara came
down to breakfast this morning, and the poor girl doesn't look
well at all. Her system really needs toning up, seems to me.
What do you think of iron?"
Father: "Good idea! Give her the flat-iron. Strikes me that
ought to cure her of twelve-o'clock balls."
SOMETHING FOR HIS STOMACH.
McMasters was walking with a beautiful girl in a wild New
England wood, when she asked him:
"What is your favorite flower?"
"Well, I believe I like whole wheat best," he replied, thought-
208 WIT AND HUMOR
A small boy wanted a watch, and, as most small boys do,
kept teasing his father until he was positively forbidden to men-
tion the matter again. It was the custom in this family, every
morning, after family prayers, for each member to recite one
text from the Scriptures. Next morning, when it came time for
the boy's verse, he said, promptly:
"What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch !"
Needless to say, his cleverness won for him the timepiece.
NOT THAT WAY NOW.
The artist was painting — sunset red, with streaks of green
dots. The old farmer, at a respectful distance, was watching.
"Ah," said the artist, looking up, "perhaps to you, too, nature
has opened her sky-pictures, page by page. Have you seen the
lambent flames of dawn leaping across the livid east; the red-
stained, sulphurous islets floating in the lake of fire in the west;
the ragged clouds at midnight, black as raven's wings, blotting
out the shuddering moon?"
"No," replied the farmer, in a matter-of-fact tone, "not since
I signed the pledge."
'TWAS A DIFFICULT JOB.
The English Weekly tells of an artist employed to renovate
and retouch the wonderful oil paintings in an old church in
Belgium, who brought in a strange bill, some of the items of
which were as follows :
Touching up purgatory and restoring lost souls, $3.06; bright-
ening up the flames of hell, and putting new tail on the devil,
$7.17; putting new stone in David's sling, enlarging head of
Goliath, $6.13; mending shirt of prodigal son and cleaning his
ear, $3.39 ; decorating Noah's ark and putting new head on Shem,
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 209
OF COURSE HE GOT IT.
A manufacturer, who hired a boy, noticed that he always
seemed to have his eye on the machine he was running. This
went on for a year, when the man looked up from his work one
day to see the boy standing by his desk.
"What is it?" he inquired, kindly.
"Want me pay raised," said the boy.
"What are you getting now?"
"T'ree dollars a week."
"Well, how much do you think you are worth ?"
"You really think so, do you?"
"Yes, sir, an' I've been t'inkin' so for t'ree weeks, but I've
been so awful busy I ain't had time to speak to you about it."
The boy got the raise.
EVERY ONE HAS A REMEDY.
"My husband is so poetic," said a well-dressed woman to her
companion, in the street-car.
"Have you ever tried rubbing his j'ints with hartshorn lini-
ment?" interrupted a stolid-looking woman, who had overheard
the remark. "That'll straighten him out as quick as anything I
know of, if he ain't got it too bad," she added.
A workman was digging, when a pedestrian stopped for a few
minutes to look on.
"My man," said he at length, "what are you digging for?"
"Money," was the reply.
"Money!" exclaimed the questioner, in amazement; "and
when do you expect to strike it?"
"Saturday," quietly answered the workman, as he resumed
210 WIT AND HUMOR
A MATTER OF BUSINESS.
They had been engaged a long time, and one evening were
reading the paper together.
"Look, love," he exclaimed, "only sixteen dollars for a suit of
"Is it a wedding-suit?" she inquired.
"No, it's only a business suit."
"Well, I meant business," she promptly replied.
WHERE THEY CLASHED.
Daughter : "Yes, I've graduated, but now I must inform my-
self in psychology, philology, Bibli — "
Practical Mother: "Now, listen to me. I've already arranged
for you a thorough course in roastology, boilology, stitchology,
darnology, patchology and general domestic hustleology. Now,
you can get on your working clothesology."
LIKE A TEETER-BOARD.
Finnegan: "Phwat's the use of choppin' down a tree?"
O'Reardon : "And phwy not ?"
"Shure, and you'll only have to chop it up again."
She was a dear old lady, one of the leading characters of the
village. In spite of her ninety years, her serene face showed no
trace of worry or trouble. The new preacher, who had called,
looked at her admiringly, as he asked :
"What has been the chief source of your strength and suste-
nance during all these years? Pray, tell me, that I may pass it
on to others."
The old lady raised her eyes, dim with years, yet bright with
sweet memories, as she simply answered:
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 21 1
CHANCE TO USE THEM.
"Run upstairs, Freddie, and bring down baby's nightgown,"
said his mother.
"Don't want to," was the reply.
"Oh, Freddie, if you are not kind to your new little sister,
she may put on her wings and fly back to heaven."
"Well, let her put 'em on and fly upstairs after her night-
gown," he suggested, triumphantly.
WHERE HE FELL DOWN.
"Then, you don't think I practice what I preach?" queried
the minister, in talking with one of his deacons.
"No, sir, I don't. You've been preaching on resignation for
nigh on to two years, and haven't resigned yet."
WANTS HONEST HENS.
"Do you say your hens 'sit' or 'set'?" asked the precise peda-
gogue, of the busy housewife.
"It doesn't matter to me what I say. What I want to know is,
when a hen cackles, is she laying or lying."
IN THE MARKET.
Young Man: "So Miss Ethel is your oldest sister? Who
comes after her?"
Small Brother : "Nobody ain't come yet ; but pa says the
first fellow that comes can have her."
SHOULD BE PURSUED.
"The wicked flee when no man pursueth," quoted the deacon,
to the minister.
"Yes," said the pastor, who believed in muscular Christianity,
"that is true ; but they make far better time when somebody is
212 WIT AND HUMOR
"Your boys were in my apple-tree again yesterday," said
Belknap to his neighbor.
"If you say anything more about it," declared the other, "I'll
send you the doctor's bill."
"How old is your baby brother?" asked little Tommy, of a
"About a year old," replied Harry.
"Huh," exclaimed Tommy, "I've got a dog a year old, and he
can walk lots faster than that kid can."
"He ought to," was the immediate reply; "he's got twice as
many legs "
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 213
Be careful what rubbish you toss in the tide,
For back on the incoming waves it may ride.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
TOOK THE SAFE COURSE.
Three strangers were in a Pullman car, when one turned to
another and asked :
"How f-far is it to P-P-Pittsburgh ?"
The man addressed made no reply, but got up and left the
car. The stutterer then turned to the third man, who gave him
the desired information. A short time afterward he met the one
who had left the car, and inquired :
"See here! Why did you go out without answering when
that man asked you a civil question?"
"D-d-do you think I w-w-want to g-g-get m-my head knocked
p-p-plumb off?" was the significant reply.
Two Irishmen arranged to fight a duel with pistols. One was
decidedly stout, and raised an objection.
"Bedad," said he, "I'm twice as big as he, so I ought to stand
twice as far from him as he does from me."
NOT TO BE SURPRISED.
Mike: "I had to go through the woods the other night where
Casey was murthered last year, an' I walked backwards the
Pat: "And for why wuz ye be doin' that?"
Mike: "Faith, man, so I could see if anything wuz a-comin'
up behint me."
214 WIT AND HUMOR
FORCED THE SALE.
"What are you doing with those snowballs?" asked the well-
dressed gentleman, suspiciously, a few days before Christmas.
"Sellin' 'em, sir, three f er a penny, and them what can't afford
to buy 'em gets 'em f er nothin'," the boy answered.
"Ah, I'll buy the entire lot," said the man, quickly.
WANTED TO BE THERE.
George was engaged to be married to a young lady in a neigh-
boring city, and when the day came for the ceremony he did not
appear. The bride was on the verge of nervous prostration, when
the following telegram was received :
"Dear Helen: — Missed the early train. Will arrive on the
4:30. Don't marry until I come. — George."
FOUR-LEGGED ONES SAFE.
Sanitary Inspector: "My good man, you keep your pigs too
near your house. It isn't healthy."
"That's just what the doctor said," replied the slouchy man;
"but I don't see how it's goin' to hurt 'em none — and they're just
as healthy as any one's pigs, far as I can see."
TIME TO START SOMETHING.
Mrs. Halloway: "Yes, sir, my husband left me in straitened
circumstances. My two daughters are the only resources I have
Mr. Freeman : "Then, madam, I should strongly advise you to
husband your resources with as little loss of time as possible."
FOR A RAINY DAY.
"Your money or your life !" coarsely growled the highwayman.
"Take me life," quickly decided Pat. "I'm a-savin' me money
for me old age."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 215
WILLING TO HELP.
Mrs. Randall had just finished instructing her new girl, who
came to her from an intelligence-office. Her general appearance
pleased the mistress, and she felt sure she had found a prize.
"And, Lizzie, do you have to be called in the morning?" she
asked the girl, as an afterthought.
"I don't have to be, mum," replied the new assistant, hope-
fully, "unless you just happens to need me."
LIKED OLD WAY BEST.
The city boy's parents had just moved to the country, and
arrangements were being made for him to attend the country
school. One day he saw electricians at work there, and asked
"What are those men doing?"
"Putting in an electric switch."
"Well, I quit right here, then. I won't stand for any school
where they do the licking by electricity."
Winifred had been disobedient, and her mother led her to
the chicken-house near by. Amid the apprehensive cries of the
child and the alarmed cackles from a dozen or more excited
hens, the punishment began. But soon Winifred looked up
appealingly from over her mother's knee, and whimpered :
"Mother, don't you think this scares the chickens more than
is good for them?"
GOOD COMPANIONS OR NONE.
Mother: "Ernest, stop using such dreadful language."
"Well, mamma, Shakespeare used it."
"Then, don't play with him another minute. He's no fit com-
panion for you."
216 WIT AND HUMOR
WANTED HER PART RIGHT.
Fannie was all worked up over the approaching wedding of
her aunt, at which she was to be flower girl. When told that she
would go down the aisle and sprinkle flowers all along, she said,
"All right, mamma, but you must get a new sprinkling-can
right away. Our old one leaks awfully awful."
WANTED TO PLEASE HER.
The president of a well-known college wore side-whiskers.
Whenever he suggested removing them, there was a division of
opinion in the family. One morning he entered his wife's dress-
ing-room, razor in hand, with his right cheek shaved smooth.
"How do you like it, my dear?" he asked. "If you think it
looks well, I'll shave the other side too."
STILL HOPE FOR HIM.
A small, dejected-looking man presented himself in the doc-
tor's office to take an examination for life insurance. It hap-
pened that the physician knew something of his home life, where
the wife was the ruler, but, as a matter of form, asked:
"You don't dissipate, do you? Not a fast liver, or anything
of that sort?"
The man hesitated a moment, looked a bit frightened, then
replied, in a small, piping voice :
"I sometimes chew a little gum."
INNOCENT DOG STARTS QUARREL.
"I would much prefer that you do, not bring your dog into
my house," said Mrs. Nebeker, to a caller; "it's full of fleas."
"Oh, dear me!" was the shocked reply. "Of course I'll not
bring the dear thing in, then. I had no idea you kept your house
in such condition."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 217
WHY SO PARTICULAR?
"You understand your duties, don't you?" she said, to the
"Yes, ma'am, I'm quite sure I do."
"And you know your way to announce?"
"Well, ma'am, I shouldn't like to be so exact as that, but
I'm quite sure I know my weight to a pound or so."
NO RAY OF HOPE.
"Do you think I can safely ask your daughter to marry me?"
"I'm sure of it. I heard her tell her mother she wouldn't
marry you if you were the last man on earth."
NO EXPERIMENT FOR HIM.
An Irish hod-carrier was taking mortar to the top of a twenty-
story skyscraper in course of construction. One day he couldn't
find his way down. The boss missed him, and called up:
"Pat, why don't you come down?"
"I don't know the way, sor."
"Why, come down the way you went up."
"Faith, and Oi will not, sor, for Oi came up head first."
NOT A BASIS OF VALUES.
"I say, do you think Wiegler is a man to be trusted?"
"Yes; why, I'd trust him with my life."
"But with anything valuable, I mean."
218 WIT AND HUMOR
An army of stags with a lion at their head, is better than an army of
lions with a stag at their head. — Philip of Macedon.
COULD NOT BE THWARTED.
At the Christmas dinner the little girl had eaten freely of
turkey. After two generous helpings she asked for more.
"You've had all that's good for you," said the mother.
"I want some more."
"You can't have any more, dear. But here's the wish-bone,
for you and mamma to pull. That will be fun. Now, pull !
Why, Mary ! You got the big end ! Now, what do you wish
"More turkey!" promptly replied Mary, joyfully.
"The camel has nine stomachs, I heard at the zoo.
Now wouldn't I be happy if I had two?
Oh, yes ; I'd brim with gladness, and call life a dream,
With one for just roast turkey and one for ice-cream."
"Geraldine," called father, down the long stairway into the
dim and silent parlor, "ask that young man if he doesn't think
it's about bedtime."
After a moment more of silence, the daughter answered in
"He says it's now 11 :45, papa, and that he seldom goes to
bed before one, but it seems to him it's a matter of merely
personal preference, and that, if he were in your place, he'd
go now, if he felt sleepy."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 2[9
ALWAYS SOMETHING BETTER.
Election Agent : "That was a good speech our candidate made
on the agricultural question, wasn't it?"
Farmer: "Oh, it wasn't bad; but a couple o' nights o' good
rain would 'a' done a heap more good."
"I would like to have my hair cut," he said, as he threw
himself into the chair.
"Any special way?" asked the barber.
"Yes," was the reply, "off."
A deaf man was being married, and the parson asked the
"Do you take this woman for your lawful wife?"
"Eh?" said the deaf man, with his hand to his ear.
"Do you take this woman for your lawful wife?"
The groom seemed a bit irritated, as he answered:
"Oh, I don't know. She ain't so awful. I've seen wus than
her, that didn't have as much money."
NOT A TRAINED SINGER.
It was at a summer hotel, and the baby, being warm and
fretful, cried lustily.
"Tut! Tut! We can't disturb our neighbors this way,"
said the fond father, taking the child in his arms. "Let me sing
him to sleep."
He had been singing to the little one but a short time, when
a knock was heard at the door, with these words :
"There's a sick lady next door, and, if it's all the same to
you, would you mind letting the baby cry instead of singing
220 WIT AND HUMOR
THE SAME RESULT.
Johnny had been handed two apples, and instructed to give
one to his sister. The mother watched the act, and then said,
"Johnny, if I were dividing those apples, I'd keep the small
one and give you the large one."
"Well, ain't I got it ?" he asked in triumph.
WHY THEY GO TO CHURCH.
An unknown editor, who, evidently, looked over the situation
carefully, wrote the following:
"Some go to church to weep, while others go to sleep. Some
go to tell their woes, others go to show their clothes. Some go
to hear the preacher, others like the solo screecher. Boys go to
reconnoiter, girls go because they orter. Many go for good
reflections, precious few to help collections."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 221
When God wants to make an oak he takes a hundred years, but he
only takes two months to make a squash. — James A. Garfield.
"This afternoon," announced the presiding officer, at the con-
ference of ministers, "Elder Jones will read a paper on 'The
Devil.' Please spread the announcement, and be prompt in
attendance, for Brother Jones has spent much time on the
paper, and is full of his subject."
TAKING CARE OF BABY.
An advertisement, praising the virtues of a new make of
infants' feeding-bottle, said :
"When the baby is done drinking, it must be unscrewed and
put in a cold place, under a tap. If the baby does not thrive on
fresh milk, it should be boiled."
"Herbert," said his mother, "did you wash your face before
your music-teacher came?"
"Yes," replied the boy.
"And your hands and your ears?"
"Well, mamma," said he, truthfully, "I washed the ear that
would be next to her."
TWO WAYS OF BEING FITTED.
"Yes, grandma, I'm to be married during Yuletide."
"But, my dear," said the good old lady, earnestly, "you are
very young. Do you feel that you are fitted for married life?"
"Oh, I am being fitted now, grandma," explained the pros-
pective bride, sweetly, "and my gowns will be just beautiful."
222 WIT AND HUMOR
The gentleman is solid mahogany; the fashionable man is only veneer.
ENDED IN A DRAW.
Two old residents of the village were very ignorant, neither
being able to even tell the time of day. A friend of Unde
Hamer gave him a watch, of which he was very proud. One
day, before the crowd at the corner store, "Old Pete," as he was
called, being slightly jealous of the other in the display of his
timepiece, and thinking to embarrass him, said, carelessly:
"Say, Hamer, what time have ye got?"
The other drew out his watch and turned its face toward
his inquirer, saying:
"There she be."
Pete was at a loss what to do at first, but quickly met the
emergency by exclaiming :
"Blamed if she ain't!"
NO DOUBT A GOOD PROPHET.
Sidney and Warren were playing near a small pool of water,
when they decided to pretend they were certain animals. Sidney
was to be a calf, and walked around on "all-fours," bellowing
vociferously, while Warren acted the part of a pig, and wallowed
in the muddy pool. Finally he crawled out, and, looking anxiously
at his soiled clothes and hands, said:
"I don't like to be a pig— you be it I want to be a calf, and
"There'll be time enough for you to bellar when yer ma sees
yer clothes," was the retort from his playmate,
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 223
An Irishman, taking a large goose home for his Sunday
dinner, stopped at an inn to obtain a little refreshment, says
Tit-Bits. Putting down the goose, he was proceeding to satisfy
his thirst, when a seedy-looking individual, seizing the fowl,
started to run away with it. Pat at once gave chase, and soon
had the man by the neck, yelling at him:
"And why did yez take the bir'rd?"
"Sure, I took it for a lark !" was the reply.
"And did yez? Begorra, ye'd make a bad judge at a bir'rd
show, now, wouldn't yez!"
"On your trip abroad last summer, did you go up the Rhine ?"
"Yes, indeed. Right up to the very top. And, oh! What a
magnificent view we did get from the summit!"
WHY HE BECAME SILENT.
Bowen awoke with a start. It was his wife's birthday, and
he had forgotten to bring her a present when he came home the
night before. He decided to resort to strategy. Hurrying
silently downstairs, he placed a large plate on the hall table, and
let the dog in the house. When Mrs. Bowen came down, he
met her, smilingly, and with much courtesy said :
"My dear, this being your birthday, I brought home a beau-
tiful cake for you."
With happy anticipation she followed, just in time to see
him kick the dog and stare in apparent amazement at the empty
"The brute!" he cried, savagely. "He's eaten the birthday
cake all up!"
"How could he?" the wife asked, in surprise, "See, he still
has the muzzle on."
224 WIT AND HUMOR
HUNTING DRY LAND.
Notwithstanding the horrors of the great European war, it
is said humor was not lacking whenever firing ceased. In one
of the front-line Austrian trenches, the water was three feet
deep in some places.
"Where's Logenwixz?" an officer asked one of the men.
"Gone ashore, sir," was the reply, with all due courtesy.
AGREED WITH THE DOCTOR.
Mike had the misfortune to get mixed up in an accident, and
was taken to a hospital, where it was found he was but slightly
injured. The house surgeon who examined him thus stated the
case to the nurse, Mike listening with great interest :
"As subcutaneous abrasion is not observable, I think there is
little reason to apprehend tegumental cicatrization of the wound.
What do you think about it, yourself?" he mischievously asked
"Sure, Doctor," replied Mike, "you're a wonderful thought-
reader, for you took the very words out of my mouth. I was
just going to say the same precise thing myself." — Pittsburgh
Ch ronicle- Telegrap h.
HAD IT ABOUT RIGHT.
"That new clerk of yours seems to be an important person
"You've sized the situation up about right."
"Then, he is important, is he?"
"No. Just seems to be."
"And what did you most enjoy in France, Mrs. Cummings?"
"Well, I think it was the French pheasants singing the
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 225
OFTEN THE CASE.
"Willie," said the teacher of the juvenile class, "what is the
term '&c' used for?"
"Why, I guess it's to make people think we know a lot more
than we really do."
It is said the late King Edward once came upon one of
his grandsons with a book in his hand, and asked what he was
"Studying about Perkin Warbeck," was the reply.
"And who was he?" continued His Majesty, desiring to test
the boy's knowledge.
"Oh," answered the young prince, "he pretended he was the
son of a king, but he wasn't. He was the son of respectable
WHEN NOT DISREGARDED.
A clergyman of a church in Georgia was discussing religious
topics of varied interests with a somewhat illiterate member of
his congregation. The man remarked that even the best people
were none too good.
"You believe, then," said the pastor, "in the doctrine of total
"Yes, I do," was the prompt reply; "that is, where it's lived
WANTED TO BE FAIR.
Two little girls, walking through a field, were afraid of a
cow, when one of them suggested that they go right on and act
as if they were not the least bit frightened.
"But, wouldn't that be deceiving the cow?" the other asked,
226 WIT AND HUMOR
A FEARFUL HYPOCRITE.
"What do you think of Jergens?"
"Jergens? Why, sir, he's one of those fellows that pat you
on the back before your face, and hit you in the eye behind
KNEW WHAT SHE WANTED.
"I wants to be procrastinated at de nex' corner," said a very
pretentious colored woman.
"You want to be what?" demanded the puzzled conductor.
"Now, doan' yo' lose yo' tempah. I had to look in de dic-
tionary myse'f befo' I found out dat 'procrastinate' means to
'put off/ Yes, sah, yo' can jes' procrastinate me at Jeff 'son
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 227
Smear yourself with honey and you will be devoured by flies. — Mexican
HE CAUGHT ON QUICKLY.
A woman, easily distinguished as "new rich," entered a street-
car, and, with a haughty air, sat down by an old Italian. When
the conductor collected the fares, she said to him, in a loud voice :
"Let me off at my husband's bank."
Evidently knowing her, he assured her he would do so, then
reached for the fare of the Italian. Although poorly dressed, he
was evidently just as well known to the conductor as the woman,
"Please let me off at my peanut-stand, will you, Mister?"
"Yes, Mezzo," was the distinct but kindly reply,
The proud woman didn't smile, but all the other passengers
seemed suddenly possessed with unusual cheerfulness.
ONE OF HIS TRAITS.
Two negro boys went to hear a politician make a speech. The
man had not been speaking long, when one of the dusky youths
asked the other:
"Eph, who am dat man?"
"I dunno, but he do shua' recommen' hisse'f."
WOULDN'T GIVE IN.
"Why don't you get rid of that mule?"
"Well, suh," answered the negro laborer, "I hates to gib in.
If I was to trade off dat mule, he'd rega'd it as a pus'n'l victory.
He's been tryin* foh de las' six weeks to get rid ob me."
228 WIT AND HUMOR
THE FARMER'S CONCLUSION.
A professor of about sixty years of age looked much older,
but very much disliked to be reminded of it. At a small rural
station an old farmer, panting violently, boarded the train, and
happened to take a seat by the side of the other, remarking:
"I had to run nearly half a mile to get here in time."
Pausing a moment for breath, he resumed:
"It's a bad job, when old folks like me and you has to run."
The professor, frowning, asked him how old he was.
"I'm seventy-six," he answered.
"Well, there's ten years difference between you and me,"
said the professor, in a dignified tone,
"Goodness gracious !" exclaimed the farmer, "you don't mean
to tell me you're eighty-six!"
NOT MADE FOR DUDES.
"Why do you spend so much time on the crease of your
pants?" the rural father inquired of the son, just home from
"It is important, dad, not to wear baggy trousers," said he.
"Important, is it? Why, you young upstart! You young
representative of a lot of these modern fads ! Did you ever see
a statue to a man who didn't wear baggy trousers?"
Black Sarah was employed in the kitchen of a Northern
family. One day a visitor there, by way of being pleasant, said
"You are from the South, are you not?"
"Lawsy, yes, Miss !" was the ready answer.
"Born in the South, I presume?"
"Originally bo'n in Richmond, Mississippa," was the proud
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 229
NOT AFRAID OF BRAGGING.
Several years ago, a rivalry in the raising of hogs sprang up
among the farmers of Kansas. A sign in front of one farm,
that seldom failed to attract the attention of passersby, read:
"Any one wishing to see the biggest hog in Kansas, stop here
and see me. — Silas Lowe,"
230 WIT AND HUMOR
A single profane expression betrays a man's low breeding. — Joseph
NOTHING TO BOAST OF.
He was a rural Yankee, and peered inquisitively at the Jew
who occupied the other half of the car seat with him.
"Nice day," said the Jew, politely.
"You're a Jew, ain't you?" queried the other.
"Yes, sir, I'm a clothing salesman" (handing him a card).
"But you're a Jew?"
^es, I am," came the answer.
"Well," continued the nagger, "I'm a Yankee, and in the
little village in Maine where I'm from, I'm proud to say, there
ain't a Jew livin'."
"Yes," replied his seatmate, quietly, "that's why it's a village."
A GOOD BLUFFER.
Two small pugilists were quarreling.
"Aw," said one, tauntingly, "you're afraid to fight, that's what
"Naw, I ain't, but if I fights, my ma'll find it out and lick me."
"How'll she find it out, I'd like to know?"
"She'll see the doctor goin' to your house."
LOOKED THAT WAY.
Aunt Mary: "Is the water at your place hard or soft, dear?"
Little Niece: "I think it's hard, auntie, 'cause when I spat-
tered some on the lamp chimney t'other night it broke all to
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 231
SHOCKED THE LAWYER.
An attorney, who was a candidate for a municipal office, was
out canvassing one day, and stopped at a cottage door, inquiring
of the woman who answered his knock :
"Is your husband in?"
"No, sir; but I know what you want. He's going to vote for
you because you got him off for stealing that ham last week."
"No, no," corrected the lawyer ; "alleged stealing of the ham."
"Alleged, nothing!" was the smiling denial. "We've got
some of it yet. Lemme give you a sandwich out of it, sir."
A VOICE FROM— MIKE.
Two Irishmen were working on the roof of a building, when
one made a misstep and fell to the ground. The other leaned
over and called out:
"Are you dead or alive, Mike?"
"Alive," said the other, feebly.
"Sure, you're such a liar, I don't know whether to believe
you or not."
"Then, I must be dead," said Mike, "for you wouldn't dare
call me a liar if I wor alive."
AS DINAH SAW IT.
"Colonel Rogers seems to be very literary," remarked a
visitor in the home of the negro maid, glancing at a pile- of
magazines on the floor.
"Yes, ma'am, he sho' am literary. He jes' natu'ly littahs
t'ings all ober de house."
NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT,
"Was your garden a success?"
"Decidedly so. My neighbor's chickens took first prize at
the poultry show."
232 WIT AND HUMOR
ONE QUESTION SETTLED.
Two darkies were discussing the nationalities of certain Bible
characters, when Sam said to Jim:
"Does yo' s'pose Saint Peter was a nigger?"
"Naw, Peter wan't no nigger," was the positive reply.
"What fo' make yo' say Peter wasn't no nigger?"
"Kase, ef he'd 'a' been a nigger, dat roostah neber would hab
had a chance to crow t'ree times."
SHE TOLD THE TRUTH.
"What were you and Charles talking about in the parlor?"
asked the mother.
"Oh, we were discussing our kith and kin."
The mother looked dubiously at her daughter, whereupon
her little brother, with the best of intentions, spoke up, brightly :
"Yeth, she wath, mamma. I heard 'em. Charley, he athked
her for a kith, and thithter thaid, 'You kin.'"
"Winkler seems to have a high opinion of his knowledge of
things in general."
"I should say he has! Why, I have actually heard him try
to argue with his son, who is in his Freshman year at college."
NO LONGER IN DOUBT.
The two-hundred-pound wife had been much alarmed over
the condition of her husband, but said, hopefully, to the doctor,
on the occasion of his third call :
"I think hubby is much better this morning. He took my
hand just a minute ago and called me his little tootsy-wootsy."
"The case is much more serious than I thought," said the
doctor, anxiously; "it's a very bad sign when a patient becomes
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 233
An old negro in Texas, who was the only Baptist in the
vicinity, always stood up for his church, and was ready for an
argument, although unable to read a word. The New York
Christian Advocate says this is the way he "put down" at least
one of his antagonists:
"Yo' kin read, now, can't yo' ?"
"Well, I s'pose yo' read in de Bible about John de Baptis',
"Well, yo' neber read 'bout John de Mefodis', did yo'? Ef
yo' eber does, jes' let dis heah niggah know 'bout it."
THIEF'S TERRIBLE BLUNDER.
The detective had congratulated the housewife for bringing
about the arrest of a noted sneak-thief.
"Oh, I knew he was a crook the minute he spoke," she said,
"How did you know so quickly?"
"Why, he said the gas company had sent him out to examine
our meter and see if we were not entitled to a rebate."
"That little shrimp doesn't look like a hero, does he?"
"Great Scott! No! Why, what has he done?"
"Been married three times, and is engaged again."
WHERE HE BELONGS.
Clerk in the Assessor's Office: "A fellow outside says you
assessed his real estate too little by twenty thousand dollars."
Assessor: "Try to hold his attention until I 'phone to the
234 WIT AND HUMOR
KNEW ITS MASTER.
A farmer, visiting in Rochester, while talking to a resident
of the city, exclaimed:
"And this park was given to the city by the Mayos — well,
"Yes, and the Mayos gave this library to the city, and
this church was built by the Mayos, and the money for this
school was contributed by the Mayos," informed the resi-
"Well, that's wonderful — nearly everything here belongs to
the Mayos, or was donated by them, it seems. Here comes a
cat. I suppose that belongs to the Mayos too. Let's stop and
As they paused, the farmer spoke, pettingly:
"Kitty! Kitty! Say, kitty, who do you belong to?"
"Me-ow," instantly came the reply.
"By gosh !" was all the farmer could say for some time.
THERE WAS A DOUBT.
"Pardon me," said a stranger, in a Western town, "are you a
"Yes, sir; been here something like fifty years. What can I
do for you?"
"I'm looking for a criminal lawyer," responded the stranger;
"have you one here?"
"Well," reflectively replied the native, "I think we have, but
it would be pretty hard to prove it on him."
THEY DON'T SPEAK NOW.
"The man I marry must have common sense," said the haughty
young woman, during a quarrel with a girl friend.
"He won't," was the bitter answer — and then they sepa-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 235
COULDN'T BE DENIED.
"Bill got six months for stealing a pig, I hear."
"That so? How did they prove it on him?"
"The pig squealed, I understand."
Several men were discussing the subject of politeness, when
one of them, referring to a well-known man of about three hun-
dred pounds weight, said he was the politest man of his ac-
"What's your proof?" asked a listener.
"Just this : I was on a street-car one day when a number of
ladies came in, and he gave his seat to three of them."
236 WIT AND HUMOR
His cogitative faculties immersed in cogibundity of cogitation. —
ODD, BUT TRUE.
I've seen the rope-walk down the land,
The sheep-run in the vale ;
I've seen the dog-watch on the ship,
The cow-slip rn the dale.
I've seen the sea-foam at the mouth,
The horse-fly in the arr ;
I know the bul-warks on the deck,
And the fire-works many a scare.
I've seen a-bun-dance on the plate,
A lamp-light on the floor ;
I've seen the cat-fish in the sea,
And a hat-stand by the door. — Tit-Bits.
MUST RAISE SOMETHING.
Scrubby-faced Individual: "Can I get trusted for a shave?"
Barber: "Not here. If you can't raise a dime, you'll have to
keep on raising whiskers."
A CIRCUS CATASTROPHE.
At the circus grounds Friday morning, while many people
were wondering what had delayed the circus, a newsboy said, in
a knowing way:
"There ain't goin' to be no show to-day."
"Ain't goin' to be no show? What fer?" anxiously queried
"'Cause the elephant stepped on the coffee-pot," grinned the
first boy, "and they can't find the grounds." — Youngstown Tele-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 237
LOOKED LIKE OPTIMISM.
"This close confinement," said the judge, to a hardened old
convict in his cell, "must affect you considerably."
"Yes, I find prison bars somewhat grating," was the facetious
"Life to you must seem like a failure," continued the judge.
"Yes, it's nothing but a cell," said the convict.
And the judge looked very thoughtful, as he walked away.
"It is 'plane' that I love you," he began.
"I ought to 'hammer' you for that," she answered, saucily.
"What made you 'brace' up?" she queried, coquettishly.
"The fact that I 'saw' you," he answered, with a bow.
"Come and sit by me on the 'bench,' " he urged.
"Suppose the others should 'file' in?" she queried, and con-
tinued: "You shouldn't let your arms 'compass' me."
"I know a preacher who is a good 'joiner,'" he suggested.
"Promise not to 'chisel' him out of his fee," she requested.
"That wouldn't 'auger' well for us," he answered, as they
rushed off for the license. — Grit.
SURE OF HIS 'GROUND.
"Pa," said the five-year-old boy, "I saw a lion and a lamb
lying side by side in our meadow this morning."
"Tut! Tut! Harold, don't tell me such stories," remon-
strated the father.
"I tell you, I did, papa; but it was a dandelion."
TIME TO SKIP OUT.
"What is it, do you suppose, that keeps the moon in place
and prevents it from falling?" asked Araminta.
"It must be the beams," replied Jimmie, and then he fled.
238 WIT AND HUMOR
WENT HIM ONE BETTER.
Father (ruefully gazing on his last dollar): "Money has
wings, and house rent makes it fly."
"Yes," said his fifteen-year-old son, "and some houses have
wings, for I've seen many a house-fly."
"You're smarter than your old dad. I always thought no
part of the house except the chimney flue!"
THE TROUBLE LOCATED.
"My gas bill is greatly increasing recently," said the matter-
of-fact man, to his daughter's steady caller; "do you know the
Young Man (nervously) : "Perhaps there's something wrong
with the meter."
Father: "You've guessed it exactly. You meet 'er entirely
too often and too long."
APPETITE OF NATIONS.
"I'm Hungary and Chile," said the tramp, thinking that puns
might bring him better success than putting on a long face.
It just happened that the man who came to the door enjoyed
puns himself, so, with a twinkle in his eye, he said:
"Well, I'll Fiji. Uruguay sort of a fellow, aren't you?"
"Yes, Siam. I find it Greece with me better than moping."
"All right; Yukon come in, but as soon as I Servia, Denmark
time in getting away from here."
"I tell you, boys," said a loud-voiced drummer, to some
friends, "I'm proud to say that no house in the country has
more men pushing its line of goods than ours."
"That sounds pretty big. What do you sell?" asked one.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 239
MUST BE KEPT IN PAIRS.
An Irishman walked into a public office, his shoes making a
lot of noise. One of the clerks jokingly referred to them, where-
upon Pat returned, by saying:
"I came near selling them the other day."
"How was that?" asked the clerk, unsuspectingly.
"I had them half-soled," said Pat, dryly, as he turned to leave.
MAY GIVE HIM A BACKSET.
I'm in a io-der mood to-day, & feel poetic 2;
4 fun I'll just off a line & send it off 2 U.
I'm sorry U've been 6 O long; but don't B disconsol8 ;
But bear your ills with 40-2d, & they won't seem so gr8.
UNCLE JOHN'S GOOD GUESS.
A little girl had sent back her plate for chicken two or three
times, and had been helped bountifully to all the things that go
to make a good dinner. Finally she was observed looking rather
disconsolately at her unfinished dish of pudding.
"What's the matter, Dorothy?" asked Uncle John. "You look
"That's just the matter," said Dorothy; "I am more'n full."
LOOKS LIKE IT.
"Mamma, a man called me a lad. Am I a lad?"
"And you told me my new papa is my stepfather?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Well, mamma, then ain't I his step-ladder?"
IN A DIFFERENT WAY.
"What are you doing there?" asked a friend of a photog-
rapher, who was drying his plates in the warm sunlight,
"Oh, just airing my views," he said,
240 WIT AND HUMOR
VERY BRIGHT HUSBAND.
"Have you any photographs of your children, Mr. Peck?"
inquired a friend.
"Yes, a bushel of them."
"Why, Mr. Peck!" protested his wife.
"Well, haven't we pictures of all four of them? And don't
four pecks make a bushel?"
Judge mentions a few, as follows : Killing time, hanging pic-
tures, stealing bases, shooting the chutes, choking off a speaker,
running over a new song, smothering a laugh, setting fire to the
heart, knifing a performance, murdering the English language.
LOOKING FOR GREEN FLAG.
The Carrs already had a large family, when the arrival of
another little Carr was announced.
"My goodness!" exclaimed one of the long-suffering neigh-
bors; "it is certainly to be hoped that this is the caboose."
SHOULD RUN A FUNNY PAPER.
Customer: "Can't you wait upon me? I've been here for a
long time. Two pounds of liver, please."
Butcher: "Sorry, but there are three or four ahead of you.
You surely don't want your liver out of order."
POSSESSED QUEER FEELING.
"I woke up last night with the feeling that my new gold
watch was gone. The impression was so strong that I got up
"Well, was it gone?"
"No, but it was going."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 241
In an Eastern city there really is a lady named Phoebe B.
Beebe. Now, if Phoebe B. Beebe had a bee, and the bee were
lost, we might say:
"Where can Phoebe B. Beebe's bee be?"
EASY TO PLEASE.
Diner (at restaurant) : "I'll take chicken."
Waiter: "Sorry, sir, but the chicken is out."
"Oh, well, I'll wait until it comes back. I'm in no hurry."
242 WIT AND HUMOR
Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions; they
pass no criticisms. — George Eliot.
"Officer, I am looking for a small man with one eye."
"Sure, now, if he's a very small man, wouldn't it be better
to use both of them, ma'am?"
DECEIVED HIS LOOKS.
A college professor, noted for his severe examinations, shot
questions in rapid succession at a raw-looking Freshman:
"I understand you attend the class in mathematics?"
"How many sides has a circle?"
"Indeed!" said the surprised professor. "What are they?"
"Inside and outside."
"And you attend the moral philosophy class; have you heard
lectures on cause and effect?"
"Does an effect ever go before a cause?"
"Give an instance," said the professor, becoming slightly
"A barrow wheeled by a man."
The professor, scratching his head and frowning, said, snap-
"You may go now."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 243
HIS LAST ONE A POSER.
He asked so many questions that he finally wore out his
mother's patience. Even after she warned him that he must stop,
he asked one more, and was promptly put to bed for his disobe-
dience. Later, his mother tiptoed upstairs, knelt beside his bed,
and told him she was sorry she had been so cross with him,
"Now, dear, if you want to ask one more question before
you go to sleep, you may do so, and I will try to answer."
The boy did not have to think long, for there were so
many things he wanted to know. Apparently using his oppor-
tunity for the one thing uppermost in his mind, he meekly
"Mamma, how far can a cat spit?"
"Mother," began the little girl, "what does transatlantic
"Across the ocean."
"But, does 'trans' always mean across?"
"Yes, always," said the mother, sternly; "and if you ask me
another question to-night, I shall send you right to bed."
After a brief silence, however, the child braved the threaten-
ing storm, by remarking:
"Then, I suppose transparent means a cross parent."
REDUCED SWELLING IN HIS HEAD.
An egotistical man, hearing a number of boys asking one
another riddles, thought he would give them a poser, so said
"What time is it when a clock strikes thirteen?"
"Time it was taken to the clockmaker's to be fixed," promptly
answered one of the smallest boys in the bunch.
WIT AND HUMOR
BIRD BEATS HIM TWO POINTS.
A teacher was questioning a class of boys on the subject of
"Birds." Having received correct answers about feathers, bill,
feet and wings, he put the question :
"What is it a bird can do that I can not?"
"Fly," was the answer he expected. For several moments the
boys were absorbed in thought, then one raised his hand.
"Well, my lad, what is it?"
"Lay an egg, sir."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 245
Many go out for wool and come home shorn themselves. — Cervantes.
The boatman had been aggravated by the behavior of a young
fellow in the party which he had taken out for a sail. When the
boat sprang a leak far from the shore, the boatman provided
all the passengers with lifebelts, except the egotistical young man.
"Where's mine?" cried the terrified youth.
"Don't you worry!" said the man, with a vindictive smile.
"You don't need no lifebelt. You'll never be drowned. A feller
with a head as holler as your'n can't sink."
GOT A THUNDERBOLT.
A very self-conceited man entered a restaurant, glanced at
the menu and then looked at the waitress.
"Nice day, little one," he began.
"Yes, it is," she answered, severely, "and so was yesterday;
and my name is Ella, and I know I am a little peach, and I've
been here quite awhile, and I like the place, and I don't think
I'm too nice to be working here. If I did, I'd quit my job. My
wages are satisfactory, and I'm from the country, and I'm a
respectable girl, and my brother is cook here, and he weighs
nearly two hundred pounds, and last month he wiped up the
floor with a fifty-dollar-a-month traveling-man who tried to make
a date with me for a show that was in town at that time. Now,
what will you have?"
In his confusion, he ordered lemon soup, chicken chops and
246 WIT AND HUMOR
Some country editors are not to be trifled with. One who
was approached by an agent for a real-estate syndicate to start
a boom for the town, refused, among other things, saying in his
"As an individual, we might cheat a man at poker, but, as an
editor, we can't be hired to help swindle our subscribers. We
have got the fag-end of one railroad. Society here is not culti-
vated. A toothbrush or a volume of poems found on a man
in this town would hang him. It is not a trade center. We have
the Digger Indians on three sides of us, and a lot of coyotes on
the fourth. It is not a good place for invalids. If the climate
didn't kill them, our doctors would."
ONLY FOR HIMSELF.
A small boy with a cold was sitting next to a woman in a
crowded street-car, and kept sniffling in a most annoying manner.
At last she thought to reproach him by asking :
"Boy, have you a handkerchief?"
The lad looked her over a few seconds, then said, in a digni-
"Yes, ma'am, but I don't loan it to strangers."
THE LESS OF TWO TORTURES.
She didn't like him very much, so resolved to give him a
strong hint to that effect the very first chance she got. The next
time he called, the conversation drifted to country life, when
he said :
"I was reading of a man who was hooked terrifically by a
cow. Doncher know, I think it would be horrible to be hooked
to death by a beastly cow."
"Not half so bad as to be bored to death by a calf!" she
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 247
In the National League was an umpire who was a stickler
for correct deportment on the diamond. In a game he umpired,
some Boston players, sitting on their bench, began to guy the
man at the bat. In an instant the umpire was running toward
them, calling out:
"Cut out them personalities ! Cut out them personalities !"
As he turned away, a high-pitched voice from the grandstand
"Cut out them grammar! Cut out them grammar!"
DIDN'T LAST LONG.
A theological student, supposed to possess rather poor judg-
ment, was asked by a professor in a class examination:
"How would you discover a fool?"
"By the questions he would ask," was the immediate retort.
"I want to get ten cents' worth o' stamps," said the farmer,
at the post-office window.
"What denomination?" flippantly queried the new clerk.
"I'm a Baptist," was the proud reply; "but I don't know as
it's any o' your business."
NEEDED AT HOME.
A genial Quaker went into a bookstore, and a young salesman,
wishing to have a joke at his expense, said to him :
"You are from the country, aren't you?"
"Yes," was the quiet reply.
"Then, here's just the thing for you," said the clerk, holding
up a book. "It's an essay on the rearing of calves."
"Friend," said the Quaker, kindly, "thou hadst better present
that to thy mother."
248 WIT AND HUMOR
GOOD ADVICE FROM PREACHER.
During a revival meeting, the old question was asked : "Where
did Cain get his wife?" This time it was a young man, who
evidently wanted to confuse the preacher.
"I should like to give this young man a word of advice," said
the speaker, during almost breathless silence, "and it is this :
Don't lose your soul's salvation looking after other men's wives."
DIDN'T LIKE HIS INQUISITIVENESS.
"I see you have your arm in a sling," said the inquisitive
passenger; "broken, is it?"
"Yes, sir," responded the man by his side.
"Meet with an accident?"
"No. Broke it while trying to pat myself on the back for
minding my own business."
"When I don't want a man's attentions," said Miss Butler,
"and he asks me where I live, I say, Tn the suburbs.' "
"Ha! Ha! Excellent!" laughed young Mr. Springer; "but
where do you really live, Miss Butler?"
"In the suburbs."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 249
When we think to catch, we are sometimes caught.— Spanish Proverb.
WHAT HE HIT.
Judge: "What is your occupation?"
Prisoner : "I am a bus-driver, your Honor."
"You mean you are a driver of horses attached thereto?"
"You are charged," continued the judge, "with hitting this
man in the face. Did you do it?"
"Certainly not. I hit him on the nasal projection thereto."
AS CASEY SAW IT.
"Mike, ye'ar drunk," said Casey, reprovingly; "and don't yez
wabble around here denyin' it. If yez war sober, ye'd have sinse
enough to know yez war drunk."
AS GOOD AS HE SENT.
A drummer for a wholesale paper-house once called on the
editor of the Chinese Daily World, San Francisco, and, thinking
to have some fun with the editor, who was attired in American
"What kind of a 'nese' are you? A Japanese or a Chinese?"
The Oriental editor, noted for his courtesy and cleverness,
smiled blandly, as he responded:
"Before I answer, will you kindly inform me the kind of a
key you are — whether you are a monkey, a donkey, or a Yankee ?"
The San Francisco Wasp, in publishing this story, says the
drummer fled in dismay.
250 WIT AND HUMOR
BOTH HAD HEARD THINGS.
An actor was introduced to a merchant who was reputed to
be very wealthy, but stingy. A few days ~ r ^r their meeting, the
actor received this note from the rich man:
"I hear from many sources that your performance is excel-
lent. Will you kindly send me two passes for any night next
The actor sent the following reply:
"I hear from many sources that your wealth is great. Will
you kindly send me two thousand dollars any time next week?"
HIS FAME CAME EARLY.
One boy was ridiculing another for his big ideas as to what
he proposed to do when he became a man, when a third spoke up :
"Oh, yes; but they'll never name any towns after you."
"They've already named one after you," was the retort —
"Marblehead, New York."
TOOK EFFECT AT ONCE.
A dinner was given in honor of a politician who was about to
depart for Europe. A minister and his wife were among the
invited guests. During the conversation, the guest of honor re-
marked that, since he was going abroad, he had made his will,
and, turning to the preacher, said :
"My reverend friend, I have bequeathed to you my complete
stock of impudence."
"Sir, you are not only very kind, but generous. You have left
me by far the largest portion of your estate," was the astonishing
The minister's wife immediately added, speaking to her hus-
"My dear, you have come into possession of your inheritance
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 2^1
COULDN'T STUMP MIKE.
The Irishman's eyes twinkled with mischief as he entered a
shop where a notice was displayed stating that nearly everything
there was sold by the yard.
'Til take a yard of milk," said he to the shopman.
Wrinkling his brow for a moment, and dipping his finger in
a bowl of milk, he drew a line a yard long on the counter. By
this time several other persons had come in, and all watched the
proceedings with keen interest, wondering what Mike would do.
Without moving a muscle, he asked the price.
"Five cents," said the shopman, confidently.
"All right, sor. Roll it up, and Oi'll take it."
"Mamma, when I was at grandma's yesterday, she let me
have fruit-tart twice."
"Well, she should not have done so. I think once is enough
for little boys. The older you grow, the more wisdom you will
Silence did not reign long before the boy came back with this :
"Well, ma, grandma is a great deal older than you."
TIME ENOUGH THEN.
"Pat, when are you going to place your whiskers on the
reserve list?" inquired a friend, of an Irish sailor.
"When you place your tongue on the civil list," answered
Pat, with a twinkle in his eye.
WONDERFUL WHEN A BABE.
"Young man," said the pompous individual, "I did not always
have this carriage. When I first started in life, I had to walk."
"You were lucky at that," chuckled the youth; "when I first
started in life, I couldn't walk,"
252 WIT AND HUMOR
OUT OF HIS LINE.
"You say the prisoner had been drinking?" asked the judge;
"Whiskey, I think."
"You think? Don't you know the smell of whiskey? Aren't
you a judge?"
"No, your Honor; only a policeman."
GIVEN A CHANCE.
An Irishman, known for his wit, was invited to a dinner
party, in the hope that he would help to amuse the guests. Sus-
pecting that the invitation did not come as a mark of respect, he
preserved serious silence. The host thought this very strange,
and remarked to him:
"Why, old fellow, I don't believe the biggest fool in town
could make you laugh to-night."
"Try it," was the cutting rejoinder.
GAVE HER GOOD ADVICE.
A portly lady had accidentally taken a rear seat reserved for
smokers. With unconcealed indignation, she watched the man
beside her fill his pipe, and finally said, in frigid tones :
"Sir, smoking always makes me feel sick."
"Does it?" said the man, as he struck a match on the sole of
his shoe; "then, take my advice, lady, and don't smoke."
NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE.
"Aw, now," said the Englishman, "it must be very unpleasant
for you Americans to be — aw — governed by people whom you —
aw — wouldn't ask to dinner."
"Oh, I don't know," said the self-reliant American girl; "no
more so than for you to be governed by people who wouldn't
ask you to dinner."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 253
FRESH AIR NEEDED.
The street-car conductor examined the transfer and said:
"This here transfer has expired, madam?"
"No wonder," she said, endeavoring to hide her embarrass-
ment as she dug out a nickel from her handbag, "with not a bit
of ventilation in the whole car "
254 WIT AND HUMOR
He who would drive another over three dykes must climb over two
himself. — Hans Andersen.
WHICH THE WORSE?
"Don't you care for any post-cards to-day?" asked the clerk
at the post-office, as he handed a man the stamp he had requested.
"No, not to-day."
"Or some stamped envelopes? We have some new ones."
"No, thank you."
"Would you like a money order?"
"No; I couldn't use one."
"Then, perhaps you would like to open a postal savings
By this time the man had reached the door and was walking
"Who was that man?" asked one of the other clerks; "and
why did you ask him those questions?"
"That," explained the first clerk, "is my barber. For years,
when he has shaved me, he starts in asking me if I don't want
a hair-cut, a shampoo, a face massage, or trying to sell me some
hair tonic. He took the hint, all right. Now I'm even with him."
LOOKING FOR HIM.
Johnson: "I used to know Mr. Hook, who was with your
firm as cashier. I understand he was a trusted and tried
Eberly: "Yes, he was trusted, and he'll be tried, too, if we
succeed in catching him,"
_ FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 255
A plainly dressed woman took a seat in a railway train in
front of a newly married couple. Almost immediately they com-
menced making remarks about her last year's hat and cloak.
After standing it as long as she could, she turned her head,
and, observing that the bride was considerably older than the
groom, said, in perfectly calm tones:
"Madam, will you please ask your son to close the win-
The window was not the only thing that was suddenly closed.
HOW HE GOT EVEN.
She frowned on him and called him Mr.
Because, in fun, he merely kr.
And then in spite, the following night,
The naughty Mr. kr. sr. — New York American.
Teacher: "I understand that one of the boys called you a
liar during recess. Did you remember what I had told you about
a soft answer turning away wrath?"
Boy: "Yes, ma'am. I answered him with a big, soft, rotten
tomato, right on the nose ; and he turned away, all right."
THE IMPORTANT THING.
A young man who had been "given the mitten" called upon his
former sweetheart and her husband a year or more after their
marriage. The youRg wife welcomed him, and exclaimed:
"Oh ! You must see the baby. He is just too cute for words,"
and, holding him up for inspection, continued : "Isn't he just the
picture of his daddy?"
The young man spoke, consolingly:
"Well, I wouldn't let that worry me, if I were you, as long
as he keeps healthy"
256 WIT AND HUMOR
PLANNING HIS ATTACK.
Two young bootblacks, with stands near each other, had
'Til get even with de guy yet," vowed the smaller, in talking
to a friend.
"Goin' to fight him, are yer?"
"Naw ! When he gets troo polishin' a gent's shoes, I'm goin'
to step right up and say to de man, 'Shine, sir, shine'.'"
Once in awhile the choirs do get it back at the ministers. In
a Connecticut church the minister announced as his text, just
after the choir had sung its anthem, "Now when the uproar had
But when the singers rose at the close of the sermon, they
rendered, in most hearty manner, the anthem beginning, "Now
it is high time to awake after sleep." — Congregationafist.
WHEN THE TRUTH IS TOLD.
Jack: "I was just admiring Mabel's hair. It is, indeed, very
Mabel's Rival : "Oh, she has some much prettier than that"
THE CHANCE CAME.
Delmarten delighted in showing a domineering spirit in the
presence of those who served him, and on several occasions had
aroused the secret determination of a waiter at the restaurant
where he occasionally dined to get even with him, should the
opportunity ever come. One day, while being served by this
waiter, Delmarten said to him, angrily:
"You are not fit to serve a pig!"
"I'm doing my best, sir," said the waiter, with freezing
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 257
SILENCED FOR ONCE.
A peddler rang the bell at the home of a crusty old maid.
When she came to the door she spoke very unkindly, concluding :
"And now you can be off. You can sell me nothing that
would be of any use to me."
The peddler, schooled by experience in his business, turned
calmly away, saying:
"No, mum, seeing that I am selling only mouse-traps and not
muzzles, I don't see as there is, myself."
WATCHED HER CHANCE.
"Mr. Shepherd, your daughter has promised to marry me."
"Humph! She said she'd get even with me when I refused
to get her a Pekinese pup."
258 WIT AND HUMOR
Man learns more readily and remembers more willingly what excites
his ridicule than what deserves esteem and respect. — Horace.
DIDN'T THINK IT POSSIBLE.
A gaily gowned housemaid sat down by an acquaintance on a
street-car, and at once said:
"Hello, Sadie! Where you livin' now?"
"I'se married, chile!"
"You ain't!" said the other, skeptically.
"Sure I be. Look at that !"
She held up her hand in triumph, and there was a shining
new wedding-ring. Staring at it a moment, the other girl asked,
"Well, of all things! Who did you ever sting like that?"
Some persons seem to think that no one can be trusted to
carry out the simplest details without their personal supervision.
One of these men, living in Europe, sailed for America, leaving
in his brother's care a parrot of which he was very fond. All
the way across the Atlantic he worried about the bird, and as
soon as he landed in New York, sent .this cablegram to his
"Be sure and feed the parrot."
And the brother cabled back as follows:
"Have fed him, but he's hungry again. What shall I do
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 259
SHOULD INCREASE CAPACITY.
An overland train stopped one day in the country. After it
had been there a long time, the conductor sauntered through the
"Say, Mr. Conductor, what's the matter with the train?"
inquired a passenger.
"We're taking on water."
"Oh, we are, eh? Then, why don't you get another teacup?"
A poor Jew, whose wife was sick in a London hospital, called
the first evening and asked how she was getting along. He was
informed she was improving. Next day he telephoned, and was
told she was still improving. This went on for several days.
Finally, one evening when he called, he was told that his wife
had just died. Hurrying to the doctor, he said, with a world
of sarcasm in his trembling voice :
"Veil, Doctor, vat did she die of — imbrovementsf
"As a matter of fact," said the lawyer for the defendant,
"you were scared half to death, and didn't know whether it was
a motor car or something resembling one that hit you."
"It looked like one, all right," answered the plaintiff. "I
was forcibly struck by the resemblance."
MUST GET VERY COLD.
A lady tourist in Yellowstone Park, who seemed deeply
interested in the hot springs, inquired:
"Mr. Driver, do these springs freeze over in winter?"
"Oh, yes, quite frequently. A lady who was skating here
last winter broke through the ice and scalded her foot very
260 WIT AND HUMOR
TOUGH ON THE BOARDER.
A cook at a cheap lodging-house played a trick on a grumbling
boarder by serving him with a piece of leather instead of beef-
"You have evidently changed your butcher," said the boarder,
looking up at the landlady, after sawing a minute or two on the
"Same butcher as usual," said she, feigning innocence of the
trick of the cook, of which she had been quietly informed;
"Oh, nothing much," said the man, still trying to make an
impression on the leather ; "only this piece of meat is the tender-
est I've had here for some time."
DIDN'T ORDER SOON ENOUGH.
"How long has this restaurant been open?" asked a would-be
"Three months," said the proprietor.
"I'm sorry I didn't know it," said the guest. "I should be
better off if I had come here then."
"Yes," smiled the proprietor, much pleased; "how is that?"
"I should probably have been served by this time," said the
man, as he got his hat and started for the door.
NOW MUST PAY FOR IT.
On arriving at port, a sea captain and his mate went ashore,
and made for the nearest restaurant. They ordered soup. When
it was served, the captain examined the fluid and called out:
"Here, waiter, what is this?"
"Soup, sir; that's what you ordered."
"Soup," said the captain, turning to his mate; "blame me,
Bill, if we haven't been sailing on soup all our lives and didn't
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 2(A
A SOFT ANSWER.
The professor had reproved his students for coming late to
"This is a class in English composition/' said he, "and not an
At the next meeting one of the girls was twenty minutes
late. The professor waited until she had traversed the length
of the room and found her seat, then bitingly remarked:
"How will you have your tea, Miss Judson?"
"Without the lemon, if you please," she gently answered.
MUST HAVE BEEN GOOD.
Mr. Tucker had unexpectedly come face to face with Mr.
Cutting, from whom he had frequently borrowed money.
"Er — aw — what was the denomination of the bill you loaned
me?" he asked, nervously.
"Episcopalian, I guess," said Mr. Cutting; "at any rate, it
keeps Lent very well."
IGNORANCE CRUELLY EXPOSED.
"One of our esteemed contemporaries," said Punch, "is much
worked up about Mr. Balfour's foreign policy, which it compares
to that of the camel, which, when pursued, buries its head in the
sand. We quite agree, but fear our contemporary is getting its
metaphors mixed. Surely it is not thinking of the camel, which,
when pursued, buries its head in the sand, but of the ostrich,
which, when pursued, runs its eye through a needle."
"I kept my head when I fell into the water," said the young
"How fortunate," replied Stella; "it must have helped you so
nicely to float."
262 WIT AND HUMOR
HAD NO BOTTLE.
"Mr. Porter !" a loud voice called from one of the upper
berths on an overland train, "have you a corkscrew?"
The porter came hurrying along, and said to him in a scan-
dalized tone :
"Boss, we don't allow no drinking in de berths. It's agin
de rules, suh."
"Oh, it ain't that," the man answered, in disgust. "I just
want to dig one of your pillows out of one of my ears — it's sort
of worked its way in, and I don't want to lose it."
NOT ALL A JOKE.
A stranger in Boston, who was having a hard time finding a
certain street, was accosted by another stranger who happened
to be hunting the same street, so said to him :
"Let's work together. You go south and I'll go north, and
we'll report progress every time we meet."
SHE SHOWED NO MERCY.
Robert: "I can trace my ancestry back through nine gener-
Luella: "What else can you do?"
Then he blinked and looked at her in a most pitiful manner.
BEAT AT HIS OWN GAME.
"These are awfully small apples you have," said a man with
mischief in his eye, as he stepped up to a fruit-stand kept by
an old Irishwoman, and placed his hand on one of her water-
Deliberately surveying him from head to foot, she said,
"Ye must be a shtranger here, sor, when ye can't tell apples
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 263
AND WHY NOT?
Tucked away in the midst of the Congregationalisfs advertis-
ing column of "Wants" appeared the following sarcasm on the
prevailing fondness for young preachers over old ones:
"Wanted — For a community of sick people, a doctor. No
man over thirty-five need apply. If bald-headed, do not waste
stamps. A long and varied and successful experience in medicine
of little importance. Must be young. Address G., care of the
Congregationalist, 52, Boston, Mass."
"Well," said the husband, anxious to patch up the quarrel of
the day before, "aren't you curious to know what's in this
"Not very," replied the wife, indifferently.
"It's something for the one I love best in all the world," he
"Perhaps those suspenders you said you needed."
APPRECIATED THE FAVOR.
A patronizing young man, seated opposite a famous scientist
at a dinner, adjusted his monocle and leaned toward the great
"Aw, y' know, Mr. Merriwell, I passed your house this
"Thank you ; thank you very much," was the quiet response.
QUICKLY CLASSIFIED HIM.
The big man, who was plainly an egotist, sneeringly watched
a small man, who was eating peanuts, and said to him:
"Down where I come from we use peanuts to fatten hogs."
"That so? Here, have some," said the other, promptly ex-
tending his sack.
264 WIT AND HUMOR
HAD NO USE FOR THEM.
Young Man (entering sanctum) : "Good morning, Mr. Editor.
I sent you some ideas as to how to make your paper more gener-
ally interesting. Have you carried out any of them?"
Editor: "Did you meet the office-boy with the waste-basket
as you came upstairs?"
"Yes, yes, I did."
"Well, he was carrying out your ideas/' said the editor,
resuming his work.
LIKE QUESTION, LIKE ANSWER.
"Had a puncture, my friend?" asked the passerby, with an
air of interest.
The chauffeur looked up, and swallowed his feelings with a
huge gulp, as he answered :
"No, sir. I'm just changing the air in the tires."
COULD YOU BLAME HIM?
A soldier, whose head and face were heavily swathed in
bandages, and who obviously had had a serious injury, was ap-
proached by a solicitous woman visitor in the hospital, who
said to him:
"And were you wounded in the head, my poor man?"
"No, ma'am," was the reply, "I was wounded in the ankle,
but the bandages slipped."
BEAST WAS IN EVIDENCE.
The landlord of a small country inn was sitting by the fire,
when the door opened and a loud-voiced young fellow called out:
"Hello, granddad! Get a move on you! Don't sit around
here like an old woman. I want accommodation for man and
"Where's the man?" asked the landlord, with cool sarcasm.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 265
WOULDN'T ATTEMPT THE TASK.
A car stopped on Broadway in New York, and the conductor
looked inside. No one got up, so he walked along the aisle and
spoke to a man who was reading:
"Didn't you tell me you wanted the Woolworth building?
Well, come out and get it. I can't bring it in to you."
266 WIT AND HUMOR
'Tis education forms the common mind;
Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined. — Pope.
THE TRICKSTER CAUGHT.
"To my mind, children are not so observing as they used to
be," said a member of the School Board to a teacher whose
class he was visiting; "and, to prove it to you, I'll just try a
little experiment, if you don't mind."
"Certainly; it's all right. Go ahead."
Turning to the class, the committeeman said:
"Some one of you please give me a number."
"Thirty-seven," responded one of the girls.
He wrote "73" on the board. Nothing was said about it.
Then he called for another number.
"Fifty-seven," was given.
This he wrote on the board as "75," and smiled knowingly at
the teacher when still nothing was said by any member of the
class. He called for a third number, and fairly gasped for
breath at the indignation manifested by a small red-headed boy,
who sang out:
"Seventy-seven! Now, see if you can change that!"-
SIMILAR, BUT DIFFERENT.
"What is a man-of-war?" asked the teacher.
"A cruiser," was the prompt reply.
"What makes it go?"
"Its screw, sir," again answered the bright boy.
"Who goes with it?"
"Its crew, sir."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 267
KNEW FROM EXPERIENCE.
The trustees of the little rural school were paying their
dreaded annual visit, and the primary class was being examined
in nature study.
"Now, children," said the nervous young teacher, holding up
an apple-blossom, "what comes after this flower?"
"Bees !" sang out one little fellow, while others answered,
correctly, "A little green apple."
Feeling that the worst was over, the teacher confidently ven-
tured another question:
"And now, Robert, can you tell us what comes after the little
"Yes'm," he said, with the utmost sincerity ; "stomach ache !"
LAY ON, MACDUFF!"
In a school in the north of England, says a British paper, the
teacher received the following note from the mother of one of
"Dear Miss: — You write me about whipping Sammy. I give
you permission to beet him eny time it is necessary to learn him
lessons. He is jest like his father — you have to learn him with
a club. Pound noledge into him, if he won't get it any other
way. I want him to get it — and don't pay no attenshun to what
his father may say. I'll handle him myself."
STATING A FACT.
The teacher, after telling her class that an iron bridge would
expand several inches in hot weather, and contract a like amount
in cold weather, asked if any of them could give another instance
of the effect of heat and cold. Here was the most interesting
answer she received:
"In hot weather the days are long, and in cold weather they
are much shorter."
268 WIT AND HUMOR
HE COULDN'T SEE IT.
Orrin was sent to study mathematics, and the teacher told
him it was a true science.
"For instance," she said, "it takes one man twelve days to
build a house, then twelve men can build it in one day."
"And if one ship can cross the Atlantic in twelve days, twelve
ships ought to cross it in one day. I don't believe it," said Orrin,
"and I'm not going to study mathematics."
SOLVING THE PROBLEM.
The teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the
blood, and, in order to make the matter clearer, said :
"If I should stand on my head, the blood, as you know, would
run into it, and I would turn red in the face. Then, why is it
that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the
blood doesn't run into my feet?"
"'Cause your feet ain't empty!" shouted one of the boys.
BOTH ASKED QUESTIONS.
The president of the Board of Education visited the schools
during his spare time, one of which was near a railway line.
While listening to a class of girls in a reading lesson a train
went by. He attracted the attention of one of the girls and
"Did you unconsciously raise your voice as the train passed?"
"If I was unconscious of it, how could I tell?" she replied.
Boy's Composition on Soap: "Soap is a kind of stuff made
into nice-looking cakes that smell good and taste awful. Soap
pieces always taste the worst when you get it in your eyes. My
father says the Eskimos don't never use soap. I wish I was an
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 269
The teacher was hearing the history class, and said to Elsie:
"Mary followed Edward VI., didn't she?"
"And who followed Mary?"
"Her little lamb," was Elsie's triumphant answer.
The teacher of a school in Illinois had sent a note home, with
a pupil, asking her parents to buy her a grammar, and received
the following answer:
"Missus Teacher: — I do not desire that Jennie shall ingage
in grammar, as I prefer her to ingage in more useful studies,
and J can learn her to speak grammar myself. I went through
two grammars, and can't say as they done me no good, anyhow."
A YOUTHFUL SOLOMON.
"Now, boys," said the teacher, "suppose there are five children
in a family, and the mother has only four potatoes to divide
among them. She wants to give each an equal share. What is
she to do?"
After quite a long silence, one boy who raised his hand was
told to answer:
"Mash the potatoes, sir," was his reply.
PERMISSION TO SPEAK
"Now, Tommy," said the teacher, severely, "how many times
must I tell you not to snap your fingers? Put your hand down,
and presently I will hear what you have to say."
Three minutes later she asked:
"Now, Tommy, what did you wish to say?"
"There was a man in the entry, and he went out with your
new silk umbrella," was the serene reply.
270 WIT AND HUMOR
NO TIME FOR FOOLISHNESS.
Five minutes after the tardy-gong had sounded, the principal
saw a little fellow scampering toward the first-grade room.
"See here, young man," said he, "I want to talk to you."
"I ain't got time to talk to you. I'm late already," replied
the breathless youngster, as he opened the door of his classroom.
ETIQUETTE AND GRAMMAR.
A seventh-grade boy had the following sentence in his gram-
mar examination : "The horse and the cow is in the field."
He was told to correct it, and to give his reason for any
change he made. This is what he wrote :
"The cow and the horse is in the field. Ladies come first."
GOT AWAY FROM HIM.
"John," said the teacher, "you shouldn't laugh out loud in
"I didn't mean to," he apologized. "I was smiling, and all
of a sudden the smile busted on me."
One day a young woman teacher took eight of her pupils
through a museum of natural history. The mother of one of the
boys asked him, upon his return home, where the teacher had
been with them.
"Oh," he answered, joyfully, "she took us to a dead circus."
THICK OF THE FIGHT.
A small boy handed in the following in an examination paper
in United States history:
"General Braddock was killed in the Revolutionary War. He
had three horses shot under him, and a fourth went through his
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 271
IN THE SOUP.
A kindergarten teacher, after explaining to her much-inter-
ested class that birds have feathers, bears have fur, sheep have
wool, etc., asked the question:
"Now, who can tell me what oysters have?"
"Crackers!" eagerly called out a bright little girl.
BOY FOUND ANOTHER.
"The word 'reviver' spells the same backward or forward,"
said the teacher. "Can you think of another?"
The serious boy looked up from his book, as he said: "Tut-
And the class worked on in silence.
SO THINK WE ALL.
The new teacher was hearing the history lesson, which dealt
with the career of George Washington. Turning to one of the
scholars, she asked:
"James, what was Washington's 'Farewell Address'?"
"Heaven, ma'am," was the lad's confident answer.
PLACING THE BOY.
Teacher: "Now, children, name some of the lower animals,
starting with Jerry Mitchell."
IT WOULD BE GONE.
During school one afternoon a violent thunder-storm arose,
and, to lessen the fright of the children, the teacher began telling
o£ the wonders of the elements.
"And, now, Leslie," she asked, "why is it that lightning never
strikes twice in the same place?"
"Because, after it hits once, the same place ain't there any
272 WIT AND HUMOR
WANTED THEM BALANCED.
A note sent by a mother to the teacher of her small son :
"Pardon me for mentioning it, but you have pulled Henry's
right ear until it is getting longer than the other. Please pull
his left ear for awhile, and oblige his mother."
TELLING THE TRUTH.
"Mamma," complained little Clara, "I don't feel very well."
"That's too bad, dear. Where do you feel the worst?"
"In school, mamma."
NEW USE FOR HYPHEN.
The teacher in one of the lower grades was instructing the
pupils in the use of the hyphen, and among other examples was
that of "bird-cage."
"Now, Lewis," said she, encouragingly, to one of the boys,
'tell me why we put a hyphen in 'bird-cage.' "
"For the bird to sit on, I guess," was the surprising answer.
THE FACE SAFE.
In an Indianapolis school a teacher asked her pupils which
was most important, to keep the face or the teeth clean, and
why. One boy answered, after some hesitation :
"Your teeth ; 'cause they'll rot off, and your face won't."
TOTAL WAS ALL RIGHT.
Sammy was not very good in his studies, hence his mother
was both surprised and delighted when he bounded into the
house upon his return from school, calling out that he got a
hundred in his examination.
"That's lovely," said his mother. "What was it in?"
"Fifty in reading and fifty in 'rithmetic," he answered,
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 273
PERHAPS DESERVED IT.
On the last day of school prizes were distributed. When
Harry returned home, his mother was entertaining callers.
"Well," inquired one of the visitors, "did you get a prize?"
"No, but I got horrible mention."
THE BOY KNEW.
"Who can tell me where is the home of the swallow?" the
teacher asked a class.
"I kin," said Horace, proudly; "it's the stummick."
ACCORDING TO SOUND.
In an effort to give her pupils some idea of the relative size
of distant countries, the teacher said :
"Cambodia is about as large as Siam."
This is how it appeared later, in a written exercise by one of,
"Teacher says Cambodia is about as large as she is."
BELIEVED IN PREPAREDNESS.
Waldo had just returned home, after a most tumultuous day
"What lesson," inquired the father, "was most impressed on
you to-day by the teacher?"
"That I need a thicker pair of pants," was the sincere response.
LOOKS THAT WAY.
A little girl in school was asked to define a frog, and did so
in the following language :
"A frog is a great big green bug, with its mouth always
open, and it's aJways standing up in front and sitting down
274 WIT AND HUMOR
JUST LIKE HIM.
"When did your boy pass his examinations?"
"Don't know," replied Farmer Coggins, "but I reckon it must
have been when nobody was looking."
TEACHER STILL IN THE DARK.
The O'Laughlin boys, Jerry and Mike, were the terror of the
school-teacher. One day, after using every means within her
power to induce them to study and to keep order, she impatiently
"Michael, what do you boys expect to be when you grow up?"
"Irishmen, av course !" was the immediate reply.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 275
Better to play in sports for health unbought,
Than pay the doctor for a nauseous draught.
— Adapted from Dry den.
DIDN'T EXCITE HER.
Young Mrs. Scott was attending her first ball game. The
home team was doing well that day, and for a time she patiently-
endured her husband's shouts and brief explanations. But when,
amid the cheering and howling crowd, he sprang from his seat
and waved his hat around and around his head, then almost shat-
tered it on the head of the fat man in front of him, Mrs. Scott
exclaimed, in deep perplexity:
"John, what on earth is the matter?"
"Why," he answered, as soon as he could get his breath,
"didn't you see the fielder catch that ball?"
"Of course," said Mrs. Scott, in disgust. "I thought that was
what he was out there for."
SHE HAD HEARD OF THEM.
Husband: "It was fearfully hot at the game this afternoon."
Wife (sympathizingly) : "Why didn't you get one of those
baseball fans they always have at the games?"
"HOME, SWEET HOME."
"And what is that man running for ?" asked Mrs. Hemingway
of her husband soon after the game opened.
"He's trying to get home."
"Dear me! How lovely! He must be very fond of his
276 WIT AND HUMOR
THE GREATER FOLLY.
One day at Little Rock, where the Detroit team was playing
an exhibition game, old "Red" Donahue, who, in his day, was
the sharpest-tongued man in baseball, was tossing them over and
letting the Little Rock batters hit at will, to the great delight of
"Oh, Red, you're easy, easy, easy!" shrieked one very wild
fan, who was getting on Red's nerves.
"I'm not half as easy as you are," retorted Red. "You paid
fifty cents to see me do it." — The American Boy.
STOPPED THEM ALL.
A young Irishman was sent by his backers to a neighboring
city to box with an athlete living there. He was getting the
worst of it, as his friends soon realized, and one of them
cautioned him, saying:
"Come, brace up, Jerry ! Stop more of those blows !"
"Stop thim?" he cried, half in anger. "Stop thim? Do yez
see any av thim gettin' by me?"
"Well, the Red Sox won the world series."
"Yes," said the Boston girl, blushing; "we feel very proud
of the Red— er— Red Hose."
SCORE NINE TO ONE.
"What're ye comin' home with your milk-pail empty for?"
asked the farmer, of the chore-boy. "Didn't the old brindle give
anything this evening?"
"Yep," replied the boy, who had just come out from town,
where he had been a member of the baseball team, "she gave
nine quarts and one strike, so I thought I might as well make
a home run."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 277
Mrs. Diggs, at the ball game, became very much excited as
the playing proceeded, and said, enthusiastically, to her husband :
"Isn't our pitcher just grand! He hits the club nearly every
time he throws the ball!"
PLAYING THE GAME.
It was during a golf game in Scotland. The first player who
drove off was very bow-legged. The second player, unmindful
that his opponent was directly in front of him, struck the ball,
and it whizzed between the other's legs.
"Hoot, mon," said the bow-legged man, with considerable
temper, "that's nae golf!"
"Ah, weel," said the striker, complacently, "if 'tis nae golf,
'tis gude croquet."
HER IDEA OF A GAME.
They did not reach the ball-grounds until the third inning,
and he at once said to a fan:
"What's the score?"
"Nothing to nothing," was the reply.
"Oh, goody!" exclaimed the girl. "We haven't missed a
thing, have we, Charlie!"
WHERE HE GOT IT.
Coach: "Jones, you look like the 'find* of the season. The
way you hammer the line, dodge, slug your man and worm your
way through your opponents is marvelous. You must have
played considerable, haven't you?"
Candidate for Football Team: "No; it's my early experience.
You see, mother used to take me shopping with her on bargain
278 WIT AND HUMOR
It takes ten pounds of common sense to carry one pound of learning. —
TIME ENOUGH YET.
A London paper tells of a woman who had brought suit
against a man for breach of promise, making the positive claim
that the defendant, who had married another, had previously-
promised to marry her. Questioning her at the trial, the attorney
for the defendant asked :
"Did not this man promise to marry you when his father
died? 5 '
"Yes," she slowly answered, apparently disturbed.
"Is his father dead?"
By this time every one in the courtroom was aroused to a
keen point of interest, and the defendant's attorney proceeded:
"Your Honor, I claim a decision in favor of my client. The
fact that he has married another woman, even after promising
to marry this plaintiff when his father dies, is nothing against
his rights in this case. His wife may die before his father, or
afterwards, and he may outlive them both, when it will be time
to fulfill his promise to this woman."
WOULD COME BACK.
"Beg pardon, ma'am," said the butler, seriously, "but your
son has just eloped with the cook."
"Yes, I know all about it. I put him up to it," replied Mrs.
Mattox, cheerily. "She's the best cook we ever had, and I don't
want to lose her."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 279
DODGING THE DUTY.
Some Boston men, who bought a spring supplying a Canadian
table-water, found themselves in a quandary when a tariff of
twenty-five cents a gallon was imposed on the importation of the
water into the United States. They wrote to a New York lawyer,
and asked him how they could get around the law. He wrote
"Freeze your water. Import it in cakes, and bottle it on this
side of the border. There is no duty on ice."
The scheme worked. — Tit-Bits.
PREFERRED ONE TO TWO.
Sammy's mother was tired of having her tablecloths stained,
so instituted a fine of a penny for every spot. The very next
day, during dinner, the boy was observed very busy rubbing hard
on the cloth near his plate.
"What on earth are you doing?" asked his mother, in sur-
prise; "you'll soil the tablecloth."
"Oh, no, I won't, mamma," replied the youngster, with sweet
assurance. "I'm just trying to rub two spots into one."
THE OLDER HUSBANDS KNOW.
The young husband had been complaining to an older married
man that he couldn't get his wife to mend his clothes, no matter
how often he asked her.
"You go at it wrong," said the other, knowingly. "Never ask
a woman to do anything. For instance, if I want a shirt mended,
I flourish it around and ask for the ragbag. Wife's suspicions
are aroused at once, and she insists upon having the shirt, and I
eventually hand it over. She looks at it, and, with a superior
air, says, 'Why, John! This is a perfectly good shirt. All it
needs is — ' Yes, sir; it will work every time, if you go at it
280 WIT AND HUMOR
GOT UNANIMOUS RESPONSE.
A colored preacher, who was about to call for a collection,
"I doan' want no man to gib mo' dan his share, bredren, but
we mus' all gib ercordin' to what we rightly hab — dat's jes' what
I mean, bredren — rightly hab, 'kase we doan' want no tainted
money in dis box. Dis leads me to 'splain dat some chickens is
missin' dis week from 'Squire Jones' place, he told me. Now,
if any ob our bredren hab fallen by de wayside wif dose chickens,
he mus' gib nuffin' — nuffin', I say. Now, Deacon Smatt, pass de
box, while I watches and sees if dere's any one in dis congre-
gation dat needs de prayers ob de church in dis heah case."
QUICK TO LEARN.
Despite the chilly spring day, Wilbur was out playing without
his coat on. This worried a neighbor, but her advice went
unheeded. Finally she said:
"Wilbur, if you go home and get your coat I'll give you a
piece of cake when you come back."
The bribe worked, and Wilbur got his coat and the cake.
Next day, which was likewise very chilly, he knocked at the
door of the kind-hearted woman and announced, significantly:
"I ain't got my coat on to-day."
RIGHT, BUT SOUNDED DIFFERENT.
A man, upon boarding a train at a station and finding the
best seats all taken, said, as he opened the door:
"Why, this train isn't going."
A general stampede ensued, and the man took a coveted seat.
In the midst of the general indignation, later, he was asked:
"Why did you say the train wasn't going?"
"Well, it wasn't then," he replied, with a self-satisfied smile,
"but it is now."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 281
SURE TO WORK.
Two sailors at a dog-show were gazing intently upon a Skye
terrier, which had so much hair that it looked more like a woolen
rug than a dog.
"Which end is its head, Bill?" asked one.
"Blowed if I know," was the reply; "but I'll stick a pin in
him, and you watch which end barks."
"THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL."
"If you take the fortress within a quarter of an hour," said
Uncle Ned to his seven-year-old nephew, who was playing at
war games with another small boy, "I'll give you a dime."
Tommy (four minutes later) : "I've taken it. Give me the
Uncle Ned (producing the money) : "How did you manage
it so soon?"
"I gave Harry two cents, and he surrendered."
"I come to you in behalf of a worthy cause, Mr. Skinner.
We want to raise $100,000. A prominent philanthropist offers
to contribute a quarter of that."
"Good!" said Mr. Skinner, hastily. "I'll give another quarter.
Can you change a half?"
EXPLAINED IN DUE TIME.
The game-keeper came suddenly upon two boys fishing, when
one of them uttered a cry of fright and ran swiftly for some
distance, but was finally caught. Resting a bit, he quietly pulled
out a permit to fish on the estate.
"Why did you run, then?" asked the amazed game-keeper.
"To let my chum get away; he didn't have a permit," calmly
explained the boy.
282 WIT AND HUMOR
TAILOR WAS SAFE.
"Here is that suit I bought of you last week," said the angry
customer to the tailor. "You said you would return my money
if it was not satisfactory."
"That's what I said," responded the tailor, very politely, rub-
bing his hands; "but I'm happy to tell you that I found the
money entirely satisfactory."
BETTER ALL AROUND.
"Dat ol' man ob your'n is a purty good provider."
"He shuah is. He wants to keep me busy occupyin' dis heah
skillet as a utensil instid ob a weapon."
A TIME FOR EVERYTHING.
"Do you ever nag your husband?" one wife inquired of
"Only when he is beating the rugs. When he is thoroughly
Irritated, you see, he makes a much better job of it."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 283
The surprising surprises once. The admirable is always more and
more admired. — Joseph Joubert.
NO DOUBT OF IT.
"Where are you going, ma?" asked the youngest of five
"To a surprise party, my dear."
"Are we all going too?"
"No, dear, you were not invited — just pa and I."
After a few moments of deep thought, the little fellow said:
"Mamma, then don't you think they'd be a lot more surprised
if you'd take us all along?"
BROKE ALL HIS RECORDS.
Brown had returned after a convivial evening at a smoking-
concert, where he had consumed more cigars and refreshments
than was good for him. It was midnight, but he did not know
it Just then the town-clock began to strike. Breathlessly he
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven,
At that very instant another clock began striking the mid-
night hour, and on Brown counted:
"Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nine-
teen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty- f our !"
By this time he was almost a nervous wreck, and, mopping
his perspiring brow, exclaimed:
"My gracious ! My word for it ! I've never been out so late
before in all my life J"
284 WIT AND HUMOR
IN FINANCIAL STRAITS.
By mutual consent, Mr. Gribben and his wife agreed to have
separate bank accounts, that she might issue checks herself. One
day he came home with the statement:
"Ma, your bank account is overdrawn. You've written checks
for twenty-six dollars more than was in the bank."
"The idea!" she cried. "If twenty-six dollars will break the
bank, we'd better find another one to do business with. I sup-
posed they had plenty of money on hand all the time."
HAT SAFER THAN MEMORY.
Flushed and breathless, the well-dressed young man picked
up the hat he had been chasing down the street, and leaned
against a lamp-post to rest. Another, also breathing heavily,
came running up and took the hat out of his hand, saying:
"I'm ever so much obliged to you."
"For what, I'd like to know?"
"Why, for catching my hat — this is mine."
"Where's mine, then?" asked the other, in deep perplexity.
"Hanging behind you at the end of a string."
NEW AT THE BUSINESS.
A man was arrested on the charge of robbing another of his
watch and chain. It was claimed that he had thrown a bag over
the victim's head, and strangled and robbed him. There was so
little evidence, however, that the judge quickly said:
The prisoner stood still in the dock, amazed at being given
his freedom so soon.
"You're discharged," repeated the judge; "you can go — you're
"Well," stammered the man, "do I have to give him back his
watch and chain ?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 285
BLINDED BY SURPRISE.
An Irishman and an Englishman were out rabbit-hunting,
when a hare suddenly darted out of a hedge. Mike, in amaze-
ment, failed to fire.
"Why didn't you shoot it?" demanded the other.
"Shure, sor," was the reply, "it was all so suddint like, Oi
didn't see it until it was out of sight."
NOT LIKE THE OLD DAYS.
Postmaster : "No, not much doing in town. Did you hear
about Lem Higgins getting a telegram?"
Farmer Mowbrey: "Not Lem? Well, by cracky! Beats all
how the young fellers are forgin' to the front these days!"
An English town council, after a protracted session, was
desirous of adjourning for lunch. The motion to do so was
opposed by the mayor, who thought that if the councilmen felt
the stimulus of hunger the transaction of business would be
much facilitated. At last a so ^what illiterate member arose
and exclaimed :
"I ham astonished, I ham surprised, I ham amazed, Mr.
Mayor, that you will not consent to our stopping for lunch."
"And I am surprised," responded the mayor, "that a man who
has so much 'ham' in his mouth should want any lunch at all."
AS A MATTER OF COURSE.
A pedestrian, who was walking near an insane asylum, met
a keeper with several harmless inmates, and asked one of them:
"Where does this railroad go to?" indicating a track that ran
"Nowhere," said the inmate, scornfully; "we keep it here to
run the trains on."
286 WIT AND HUMOR
THE END OF THE SLIDE.
One rainy morning a man slipped on the steps leading down
to a subway station in New York, and, in spite of all he could
do, slid to the bottom. About half-way down he struck a woman,
and she fell back into his lap, completely taken by surprise. When
he reached the bottom, she sat still, as if dazed and not knowing
what to do, whereupon the man, himself much embarrassed by
his predicament, said to her:
"Madam, this is as far as I go."
TWINS WIDELY SEPARATED.
"Jimmie," said the office manager, "there's a vacancy on the
staff, and I'm thinking of giving the place to your twin brother."
"My twin brother?" echoed the office-boy, much puzzled.
"Yes; the one I saw at the ball game when you were attend-
ing your grandmother's funeral last Wednesday," said the man,
"Oh — ah — urn; I'll go and fetch him," said Jimmie.
"All right," added the manager; "and don't come back until
you've found him."
Jimmie has not yet returned.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 287
And when you stick on conversation's burrs,
Don't strew your pathway with those dreadful urs.
— O. W. Holmes.
THE CAUSE OF IT ALL.
"George !" she screamed. "My neck !"
"What's the matter, dear?"
"There's a pillarcatter— "
"A what?" asked the frightened young husband.
"A tapperkiller— "
"What in the world do you mean? Tell me, quick!"
"Oh, dear," she moaned, clutching him frantically; "a patter-
killer! You know, George! A patterkiller !"
"Oh!" said he, with great relief, and he proceeded to brush
the future butterfly away.
A driver who was taking a party of tourists for a mountain
ride had something wonderful to tell about nearly every mile of
the way. When they had almost reached the top of a hill, one
of the tourists inquired:
"Anything remarkable about this hill, Mr. Driver?"
"Only this," he said, meditatively; "a young lady and a gen-
tleman once ascended it and never came back."
"Why, that's terrible," said the tourist, half provoked to
think that the driver might have failed to mention it; "what
became of them?"
"It is supposed they went down on the other side, sir," was
the cool reply.
288 WIT AND HUMOR
SOUNDED LIKE A BIG ONE.
Filson was noted for telling big "yarns." One day he de-
clared, very positively, to several listeners:
"Fellows, I saw a strange thing yesterday — a duck swimming
across the mill-pond and a kitten sitting on its tail."
"Nonsense!" cried one. "What are you giving us?" called
"It's the straight truth, fellows," he said, edging away. "Per-
haps I should explain," he continued, as he prepared to beat a
hasty retreat, "that the kittew was sitting on its own tail."
THE EASIEST PART.
"Just think of it ! A splendid dinner — soup, fish, entrees, two
vegetables, sweets, and drink, all for twenty-five cents."
"Wonderful! Where can you get it?"
"Nowhere. But just think of it!"
JUMPING AT CONCLUSIONS.
An old German farmer entered the office of a wholesale drug-
gist and said to the proprietor :
"Mr. Becker, I have der schmall pox — "
"Sakes alive! Mr. Schmidt!" exclaimed the druggist, as the
office force scrambled over each other in their efforts to get out,
"don't come any nearer ! Stop right there !"
"Vot's der matter mit you fellers, anyhow?" quietly replied
Schmidt. "I say, I haf der schmall pox of putter out in der
wagon vot Mrs. Becker ordered last veek, already."
She laid the still, white form beside those which had gone
before ; no sob, no sigh forced its way from her heart, throbbing
as though it would burst. Suddenly a cry broke the stillness of
the place — one single heart-breaking shriek; then silence; an-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 289
other cry; more silence; then all was quiet but for a guttural
murmur, which seemed to well up from her very heart. She
left the place. She would lay another egg there to-morrow.
AFRAID OF THE DOG.
A man on his way home after dark saw a dog running toward
him at full speed. Surmising that the animal was mad, he
climbed a tree, and remained there the rest of the night, with
the dog standing guard below. When daylight came he dis-
covered that the dog was his own. Slowly and sheepishly he
began to descend, the truth dawning upon him that he had done
a very foolish thing.
THE TRUTH AT LAST.
"I called on Macklin last evening," remarked Mr. Orthcutt.
"Did you have a pleasant time?" inquired his wife.
"Yes, very. Macklin was beating his wife, but, of course, he
stopped when I went in."
"Well, I should hope so !"
"I begged him to go on, but he said some other time would
do just as well."
"You begged him to go on? Why, Tom Henry Orthcutt!"
"Why, yes. I didn't want to spoil the fun, you know."
"Oh, you brute! You horrible brute!"
"Eh? You speaking to me?"
"Yes, sir, I'm speaking to you. Do you mean to say you
could have looked on calmly while he beat his wife?"
"Certainly. Why not, I'd like to know?"
"I thought you had at least a spark of manhood left. I sup-
pose you'll be beating me next!"
"Yes, I think I could if you would play cards with me. That's
what Macklin and his wife were doing."
"You horrid, mean thing V— Tit-Bits.
290 WIT AND HUMOR
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth. — JEsop.
AS SHE SUSPECTED.
A woman with an anxious expression called at an insurance
office and said to one of the agents:
"I understand that for five dollars I can insure my house for
$1,000 in your company."
"Yes," was the reply, "and if your house burns down we pay
"And," continued the woman, "do you make any inquiries as
to the origin of the fire?"
"Certainly; we make the most careful inquiries."
"Oh," said she in disappointment, as she turned to leave, "I
had an idea there might be a catch in it somewhere."
TOO MUCH SUPPOSITION.
The new reporter on the Daily Mail was told by the editor
to never state as a fact anything he was not certain about; that
this was a precautionary measure against libel suits.
"In such cases," said the editor, "use the words alleged,
claimed, reputed, rumored, and so on."
But, when the following production of his appeared in print,
he was promptly discharged :
"It is rumored that a card party was given yesterday at the
home of Mrs. Higgins, to a number of reputed ladies. It is
alleged that the guests were served with punch and sandwiches.
Mrs. Higgins claims to be the wife of the well-known merchant
by that name."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 291
BURGLAR KEPT HIS WORD.
"Did you notice any suspicious character about the neighbor-
hood?" the judge inquired of the new policeman.
"Sure, your Honor. I saw one man, and asked him what he
was doing there at that time o' night, and he sez to me that he
expected to open a jewelry store in that vicinity later on. At
that, not wishing him to think I suspicioned him of anything, I
sez to him, 'I wish you success, sor.' "
"Yes," said the judge, in a tone of deep disgust, "and he did
open one in that vicinity later on, and stole seventeen watches."
"Begorra!" exclaimed the officer in astonishment, "he may
have been a thafe, but he was no liar!"
THE GOLDEN RULE FOR GREEN.
The Greens called at the home of the Browns, and found the
head of the family absent.
"Oh, Mr. Green," said Mrs. Brown, somewhat suspiciously,
during the conversation, "I want to ask you something. I was
looking through my husband's desk this afternoon, and found
some of the queerest tickets you ever saw. One was marked
'Mudhorse, 8 to 1 ;' another was marked 'Getaway, 10 to 1/ and
so on like that. What do you suppose they mean?"
"Your husband is probably making a study of archaeology/'
said Green, "and those queer-looking tickets you found are un-
doubtedly relics of a lost race."
POOR OUTLOOK FOR LIGE.
Georgia Lawyer to Colored Prisoner: "Well, Lige, so you
want me to defend you. Have you any money?"
"No; but I'se got a mule, a few chickens, and a hog or two."
"Those will do very nicely," said the lawyer. "Now, let's
see; what do they accuse you of stealing?"
"Oh, jes' a mule, and a few chickens, and a hog or two."
292 WIT AND HUMOR
SUSPECTED A LIVE ONE.
"Behind the altar," said the conceited cathedral guide to a
party of visitors, "lies Richard II. In the churchyard outside
lies Mary, Queen of Scots."
Then, stopping near an unmarked flagging in the stone floor,
"And who do you think is lying here?"
"Well," answered one of the men, with a bored air, "I don't
know, but I have my suspicions."
Judge: "Have you ever seen the prisoner at the bar?"
Witness: "Never, your Honor, but I've seen him when I've
strongly suspected he'd been there."
A colored man went from a plantation to the city, and when
he returned possessed a diamond of unusual size and luster.
The overseer, in the presence of several of the men, asked him :
"Sambo, is it a real diamond?"
"Now look heah, boss," the negro answered, proudly, "if it
ain't, I'se been skun out of half a dollah, suh."
A MUDDLED CASE.
"That's a swell umbrella you carry. Did you come by it
"I haven't quite figured it out yet. It started to rain the
other day, and I stepped into a doorway to wait until it stopped.
Then I saw a young fellow coming along with a nice umbrella,
and I thought if he was going as far as my house I would beg
shelter, so I stepped out and asked, 'Where are you going with
that umbrella, young man?' and he dropped it and ran helter-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 293
CLOSE TO THE MARK.
A witness insisted that a certain person, who was incidentally
connected with the case in hand, was absent-minded. The prose-
cuting attorney therefore pressed him for an illustration of what
he meant by absent-mindedness.
"Well," said the witness, cautiously, "I should say that a man
who thought he had left his watch to hum, an' took it outn' his
pocket to see if he had time to go hum to get it — why, I should
suspect that feller was absent-minded-like."
Young Aspirant: "I have called to see if I may count on
Practical Citizen : "That depends, young man, on whether
you are a candidate for office, or want to marry my daughter."
THE REPORTER'S GUESS.
"The slimmest show I ever had of getting a fee," said a lawyer
to a newspaper man, "was when a client came to me with no
other asset than a watch without any works in it."
"I suppose you took the case," commented the reporter.
IT MAY BECOME TRUE.
Two negroes listened in amazement while some planters dis-
cussed the long range of modern guns.
"Dar, now," said one, after hearing of the havoc wrought by
a forty-two centimetre shell, "jes' like I been tellin' yo' niggahs
all de time! Why, us coons could start a-runnin' — run all day,
git mos' home, and den get kilt jes' 'fore suppah."
"Dat's de truf," assented his companion; "and let me tell yo'
sumpin* else: all dem guns needs is jes' yo* address — dat's all;
jes' gib 'em de address, an' dey'll get yo' mos' eb'ry time— yes,
294 WIT AND HUMOR
PUT IT QUEERLY.
Departing Guest: "You've got a pretty place here, Frank;
but it looks a bit bare yet."
Host: "Oh, it's because the trees are a bit young. I hope
they will have grown to a good size before you come again."
WORRIED ABOUT HIM.
Farmer (bursting into the village inn) : "By jinks, Si, the
bones of a prehistoric man has been found on Jim White's farm."
Innkeeper : "Great gosh ! I hope Jim'll be able to clear hisself
at the coroner's inquest."
MADE HIM UNCOMFORTABLE.
"You've made a mistake in your paper," said an indignant
young man, entering the editorial office of a daily paper. "I was
one of the competitors in that athletic match yesterday, and you
have referred to me as 'the son of the well-known lightweight-
"Well, aren't you?" inquired the editor.
"No; nothing of the kind. Father has never had anything to
do with athletics, and it's mighty embarrassing to us both, as
he's a coal merchant."
HAD BEEN LOOKING.
"Mother," said Ralph, after a full week of obedience, "have I
been a good boy lately?"
"Yes, dear, a very good boy indeed."
"And do you trust me?"
"Why, of course mother trusts her little boy. Why do you
"Because," said the boy, skeptically, looking her in the face,
"if you trust me like you say, why do you keep on hiding the
jam and things?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 295
QUICK TO CATCH ON.
"Carl," said a restaurant manager to a waiter, "why did that
man from table No. 7 leave so suddenly?"
"Well, sir," said the waiter, "after sitting down he called for
sausages, and I told him we were out of them, but if he would
wait a few minutes I'd get the cook to make some. When I
went to the kitchen and called out the order, I accidentally
stepped on the dog's tail, and, of course, it yelped. The man got
up right away, sir, and ran out,"
296 WIT AND HUMOR
Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones. —
Caleb C. Colton.
TOOK A CHANCE.
"Ain't you rather young to be left in charge of a drugstore?"
asked a fidgety woman.
"Perhaps. What can I do for you?"
"Don't you know you might poison some one?"
"There is no danger, madam. What can I do for you?" he
patiently inquired the second time.
"Well, you may give me a two-cent stamp ; but it doesn't look
right for you to be in such a responsible position."
A clergyman, having advertised for an organist and song
leader, received this reply:
"I notice you have a vacancy for an organist and choirmaster,
either lady or gentleman. Having been both for several years,
I beg to apply for the position."
THE REPORTER KNEW.
"See here," said the editor, savagely, to the new reporter,
"you're the idiot who reported that recruiting ball, aren't you?
Well," and he pointed indignantly to the printed page, "just look
what you've written : 'Among the prettiest girls present was
Colonel Cooley.' He's a man, isn't he, you flathead?"
"He may be," quietly replied the new reporter, with the
assurance of one who knows his ground, "but that's where he
was, all right."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 297
HIS POINT OF VIEW.
"Mike, didn't you tell me once you have a brother who is a
oishop?" asked the contractor.
"Yes, sor, I did that."
"And here you are a hod-carrier. Well, things of this life
are not equally divided, are they, Mike?"
"No, sor," replied the Irishman, shouldering his hod and
starting up the ladder; "indade they is not. Poor felly! He
couldn't do this to save his loif e, sor !"
PLENTY OF ROOM.
"Yes, father, now that I have graduated, I must choose a
large field, where my talents can be used to the best advantage."
"Son," replied the hard-working father, "I've counted on
that; you can have the ten-acre cornfield all to yourself."
Griffin : "Do you know, I fancy I have quite a literary bent ?"
Friend: "All right, my boy. Keep on, and you'll be worse
than bent — you'll be broke."
GETTING INTO CLASS.
Senior Partner : "That new lady shorthand clerk who types
your letters spells ridiculously."
Junior Partner: "Does she? Well, if she does, it's about the
only word of more than one syllable she can spell, so far as my
WOULD PRODUCE RESULTS.
Poet: "What do you think of this little poem of mine, 'She
Would Not Smile'?"
Editor : "I think if you had read it to her she would undoubt-
edly have smiled."
298 WIT AND HUMOR
A colored man was brought before a police judge charged
with stealing chickens. He pleaded guilty and received sentence,
when the judge asked him how he managed to lift those chickens
out, right under the window of the owner's house, when there
was a dog in the yard.
"It wouldn't be no use tryin' to 'splain it to yo'," he said to
the judge; "if yo' should try dat, yo'd shuah git cotched at it."
TO BE AVOIDED.
"I suppose you have high ambitions for your boy?"
"Well, I wouldn't exactly say that, but I do hope he won't
turn out to be the male assistant to a female dancing-teacher."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 299
Temptation is from within. It is the beer inside of a man that wants
to get the beer that is outside inside. — Newton H. Riddell.
NO PLACE LIKE IT.
A visitor in the slums of a large city asked the wife of a
hard drinker why she did not keep her husband away from the
"Well," she answered, in a discouraged tone, "I have done
my best, but he will go."
"Why don't you make your home look more attractive?"
"I'm sure I've tried hard to make it home-like, ma'am. I've
took up the parlor carpet, and sprinkled sawdust on the floor,
and put a beer barrel in the corner. But it ain't made a bit of
difference, as I can see."
NOT TO BE ANNIHILATED.
"I tell you, Michael," said the priest, "whiskey is your worst
enemy, and you should keep as far away from it as you can."
"My inimy, is it?" responded Mike; "and it was only last
Sunday yez was a-tellin' us to love our inimies !"
"So I was, Michael," said the priest, "but was I anywhere
telling you to swallow them?"
THEY GO TOGETHER.
"Bottles and rags! Bottles and rags!" called the ragman, as
he passed along the street.
"Why do you always put those words together?" asked a
"Because, madam," said the man, courteously touching his
hat, "wherever you find bottles you find rags."
300 WIT AND HUMOR
"Well," said a saloon-keeper, to an old friend, "I see you've
been up to the tabernacle and given the evangelist your last
nickel; now you'll have to walk home."
"Yes," replied the man, with a satisfied air ; "and many a time
I've given you my last nickel and couldn't walk home."
THE WORKMAN'S WORD.
Visitor (sampling new brand of beer) : "Really, this is splen-
did stuff. They say that it's both meat and drink."
Workman: "That's right; and if you take plenty, it'll find
you lodgings too."
MIGHT GET HIM TO STOP.
"Do you take any periodicals?" asked the new minister, on
his first round of parish visits.
"Well, I don't myself," replied the woman, "but my husband
takes 'em frequent. I do wish you could get him to sign the
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 301
The male bird amuses the female with his songs during the whole
time of her sitting. — Addison.
A teacher was examining a class of boys, and said:
"Now, boys, what do you think Noah did while he was in
After waiting several minutes, one little fellow raised his
hand and answered:
"He might have fished some of the time."
"Yes," said the teacher, "that is possible."
Almost instantly another boy put up his hand and said,
"I don't think he could fish very long with only two worms."
IF WE WERE AS WISE.
"A smart old owl lived in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we be like that old bird?"
VERY PLEASANT ABOUT IT.
"Happy" Jergens was very serious when he called on the
beautiful Miss Waller for about the fortieth time, determined to
know his fate. After much beating around the bush, trying to
lead up to the subject, he finally blurted out:
"Could you — do you think you could marry a man like me?"
After a minute or two of deep study, she replied, in the
sweetest way imaginable:
"Why, yes ; that is, if he wasn't too much like you,"
302 WIT AND HUMOR
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.
One of the flower-girls, at a school party attended by the
Queen-Mother, put up her wee mouth for a kiss when Her
Majesty came along, and was not disappointed.
"Molly!" gasped her astonished mother, "how could you do
such a thing?"
"I fought," said the little girl, sweetly, "it 'ud be so interestin'
to tell my gran'children."
APPETITE BOTHERED HIS BRAIN.
"Tommy, you appear to be in deep thought," said Mrs. Tebbs,
to her neighbor's son, who had called ; "may I ask what you are
"Yes'm; ma told me something to say if you asked me to
have some cake, or something, and I plum forgot what it was."
NO FLIES ON THIS BOY.
The family expected to leave town on the two o'clock train,
so the mother urged the children to do everything possible toward
getting ready before luncheon. With the eating over and the
wraps going on, the mother said :
"Edward, you didn't brush your teeth."
"Oh, yes, mother," he replied, proudly, "we were all in such
a hurry I brushed 'em before we ate."
PUNCTURED HIS TIRES.
"Why," said the minister, in teaching a Sunday-school class,
"does a bride wear white at her wedding?"
As no one answered, he went on :
"White stands for joy, and the wedding-day is the most
joyous occasion of a woman's life."
Then a small boy spoiled it all by asking:
"Why do the men all wear black?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 303
COULD SOLOMON HAVE DONE BETTER?
In Missouri a man who died left seventeen mules and three
sons. In his will he disposed of the mules as follows: one-half
to the eldest, one-third to the next, and one-ninth to the youngest.
The administrator, who went to divide the property, drove a
span of mules out to the farm of the deceased. Finding it im-
possible to divide the seventeen mules into halves, thirds and
ninths, he unhitched one of his own, putting it with the other
seventeen, making eighteen, which he proceeded to divide as
One-half to the eldest son, one-third (or six) to the next son,
and one-ninth (or two) to the youngest. Adding up nine, six
and two, he found it made seventeen, so hitched up his own
mule and went home, rejoicing that he had complied strictly
with the terms of the will.
POINTERS FOR HUSBANDS.
They were discussing the North American Indian in a rural
school, when the teacher asked if any one could tell what the
leaders of the tribes were called.
"Chiefs," answered one bright little girl.
"Correct. Now, can any of you tell me what the women were
There was silence for some time, and then a small boy fran-
tically waved his hand for recognition.
"Well, Frankie?" said the teacher.
"Mis-chiefs," he announced, proudly
LUCKY FOR JOHN.
Girl (reading letter from her brother at the front) : "John
says a bullet went right through his hat without touching his
Old Lady: "What a blessing he had his hat on, dear."
304 WIT AND HUMOR
Mistress (puzzled) : "Why have you put two hot- water bottles
in my bed, Bridget?"
"Sure, mum, wan av thim was leakin*, and I didn't know
which, so I put thim both in to make sure."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 305
The crime, not the scaffold, makes the shame. — Charlotte Corday.
HOW SHE GOT HIM.
When young Henshaw called one evening, he found Angeline
apparently considerably worried, and almost her first words
"Oh, Arthur, I had such a terrible dream last night."
"Foolish little girl," said he, "to worry over a dream. Why,
they always go by contrary, you know."
"Oh, I'm so pleased to hear that!" she cried, much relieved.
"Now, tell me, pet," said Henshaw, blindly, "what was this
"W-well, Arthur," she stammered, with a splendid assumption
of shyness, "I dreamt I wasn't going to be Mrs. Henshaw."
There was no help for it. Arthur simply had to "pop."
SHARP PRACTICE INDEED.
The story is told of a military officer, who made a wager with
an athlete that he could not hop up a certain long flight of steps
two at a time. The athlete made twenty hops, only to find he
had lost the wager, as there were forty-one steps. He was
indignant at what he called "sharp practice."
"Indeed," said the officer, testily. "Well, I'll make the same
wager that I can do it."
Expecting to get even with him, the athlete assented, but lost
again, as the officer, after going up forty steps in twenty hops,
stepped back one, then finished in the manner prescribed, and
won the wager.
306 WIT AND HUMOR
HE LEFT IN HASTE.
Hemple was always up to some mental gymnastics, but a new
lawyer who had located in the town was not on to his tricks,
so, when approached by the wag, greeted him in a strictly busi-
nesslike way, saying :
"What can I do for you?"
"Just a little question," began Hemple, seriously; "I want to
know if it's legal for a man to marry his widow's niece?"
The attorney slowly expressed the opinion that such a mar-
riage would be perfectly legal. Picking up his hat and stepping
toward the door, the wag said, quite impressively :
"I can't say as I share your opinion. As a rule in this coun-
try, when a woman becomes a widow, her husband is dead, and
how he could marry his widow's niece without rising from the
grave is beyond me. Good day, sir!"
SIZED IT UP QUICKLY.
It was Sunday morning, and rain was falling. Jimmie asked
his mother if they weren't going to Sunday school.
"No, not to-day, dear," she answered; "it's too muddy, and
raining too hard."
"Well, mamma, it was raining harder than this yesterday, and
we all went to the circus."
The mother immediately made preparations to go.
TWO OF A KIND.
A small boy had been given a penny with a hole in it. Hand-
ing it to a still smaller companion, he sent him into a store to
buy something. The lad decided on a doughnut, and handed the
penny to the clerk in payment.
"Here, Jimmie." said the man, "this penny has a hole in it."
"So has this doughnut!" said the boy, triumphantly, holding
it up to view-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 307
COULDN'T HELP HERSELF.
The wife of a wealthy man was much troubled because he
died without making a will. Wishing to get all the property
herself, she concealed the news of his death, and persuaded a
poor shoemaker to take his place until a will could be made. He
was closely muffled in bed when the attorney came, and, in a
feeble voice, bequeathed half of all the property to the widow.
"What shall be done with the remainder?" asked the lawyer,
solemnly, not observing the agitation of the woman.
"The remainder," continued the man in bed, gasping, "I give
and bequeath to the poor shoemaker, James A. Talbott, across
the street. He has always been a good neighbor and a deserving
The woman was almost dazed by the turn of affairs, but could
say nothing without spoiling her own plot.
THE WRONG SIGN.
"Who was here to see you last night, daughter?"
"Only Myrtle, father."
"Well, tell Myrtle she left her pipe on the piano."
HER CLEVERNESS WON.
"Dearie," said the young married man, "I have to go to New
York on important business. I will be gone only a day or so,
and hope you won't miss me much."
"I won't," the young wife replied, with firmness, "because I'm
going with you."
"Wish you could, dear, but it isn't convenient this time. I'm
going to be too busy to be with you, and—"
"Fmust go. I need clothes," she persisted.
"But, darling, you can get all the clothes you want right here."
"Thank you. Oh, you're so good, Charlie, dear. That's all
308 WIT AND HUMOR
HAD HIM CORNERED.
Husband : "You accuse me of reckless extravagance. When
did I ever make a useless purchase?"
Wife : "Why, that fire-extinguisher, for one thing. You
bought it a year ago, and we've never used it once — not once."
WHY HE TURNED BACK.
The following fable, probably of Turkish origin, is not with-
out a touch of truth :
A woman, who was walking along a road, looked back, and
saw a man following her. She asked him why he did so.
"Because I have fallen in love with you," was his answer.
"Why so? My sister, who is coming after me, is much hand-
somer than I am. Go back and make love to her."
The man turned back, and saw a woman with an ugly face.
Much displeased, he hastened on to overtake the other, and
said to her:
"Why should you tell me a falsehood?"
"Neither did you tell me the truth," she answered; "for, if
you were in love with me, why did you go back for another
FOOD AND FLOWERS.
An admiral had a very bright Chinese servant named Sam
Kee. One day Sam asked permission to attend a funeral of a
"All right," said the admiral, adding: "I suppose you'll put
some food in the grave, as the Chinese usually do?"
"Yes, sir," replied Sam, gravely.
"Now, see here, Sam, when do you think your friend will eat
the food you put in his grave?"
"As soon as your dead friend that you buried last week will
smell the flowers you put on his grave," answered Sam, cour-
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 309
THE PROOF AT HAND.
"What a methodical fellow you are, Bobbett," said Rienfeld,
who had stepped into the other's office during his absence.
"What do you mean?"
"To think you should lock all your drawers when you are
out for only five minutes or so. It isn't likely anybody would
meddle with your things."
"Perhaps not; but how did you find out that the drawers
GOOD ENOUGH FOR HIM.
A man who stuttered was asked why he did so.
"That's my p-p-peculiarity," he said. "Nearly everybody has
"You're mistaken. I have none," asserted the other.
"Don't you stir your t-t-tea with your r-r-right hand?"
"Yes; what of that?"
"Well, that's your p-p-peculiarity. Most p-p-people use a
"Sorry I could not hear your lecture last night," said the
loquacious lady. "I know I missed a treat. Everybody says it
was just splendid."
"That's strange," replied the college president, with coolness ;
"the lecture was postponed until next Tuesday evening."
PROFESSOR WAS WILY.
Clerk: "You remember, don't you, that you said if I took
your course I would soon be earning forty dollars a week? Yes,
and here I'm getting only twenty."
Professor: "But don't you honestly feel that you're earning
forty? Most clerks think they earn twice as much as they get."
3]0 WIT AND HUMOR
WORKED BOTH WAYS.
A man, who was in the habit of buying his cigars in wholesale
lots, conceived what he considered to be a bright idea. After
purchasing twenty boxes, he had them insured. When he had
smoked them all, he put in a claim for the insurance money.
"Why, you have' had no fire at your house, have you?" in-
quired the astonished agent.
"No, but the cigars have been consumed by fire, even though
I did smoke them," he answered ; "and I am entitled to the
money, for the policy distinctly states that if the goods are
destroyed by fire, money is to be paid upon application."
After turning the matter over in his mind for a few minutes,
the agent replied:
"All right; if you insist on it, you'll get the money, in which
case I'll have you arrested on the charge of incendiarism — setting
fire to your own property."
"Well, I'll be hanged!" was all the claimant said, as he
slammed the door in his hurried exit.
FOUND HIS MATCH.
A neatly dressed bachelor stepped into the refreshment-room
at a station where he was waiting for a train, and asked the
good-looking girl with red hair, behind the counter, if she could
oblige him with a match.
"With pleasure, if you do not object to a red-headed one,"
she replied, with such a suggestive, demure smile that she
aroused his interest immediately. And now they are happily
THE SAME FOR BOTH.
"Willie," said his mother, regretfully, "every time you are
naughty I get another gray hair."
"Well, mamma, you must have been a terror, then. Just look
at grandma !"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 3H
GOT HIM AT LAST.
"I understand that after waiting twelve years she married
a struggling young man."
"Yes, poor chap. He struggled the best he knew how, but
she finally landed him."
"I'm awfully sorry that my engagements prevent my attend-
ing your charity concert, but I will be with you in spirit. My
heart is in that kind of work."
"Good! And where would you like your spirit to sit? No
extra charge for reserved seats. I have tickets here at a dollar,
four bits and two bits."
CONFESSED HIS IGNORANCE.
"Speaking of riddles, uncle," said the bright boy, "do you
Know the difference between an apple and an elephant?"
"Why, no, Frank, I don't?"
"Well, then, it wouldn't do to send you out to buy apples,
would it, uncle?"
312 WIT AND HUMOR
A man knows his companions in a long journey or a little inn.—
WHY THE TRAIN BACKED UP.
Mrs. Jepson was not used to traveling, and had bothered the
conductor by asking him several times how far it was to Taylor
Junction. Becoming impatient, he said to her :
"Madam, please ask me no more. I'll let you know when we
But it was just his luck to forget it until the train was nearly
a mile beyond the station. He felt he could do but one thing, for
the woman had finally placed implicit confidence in him. He
immediately had the train stopped and run back to the little
hamlet. Rushing up to Mrs. Jepson, he said, hurriedly:
"Here we are, at Taylor Junction! Quick! I'll carry your
"Oh, thank you," she said, very complacently, "but I'm not
going to get off here. Daughter Jane said when I got to Taylor
Junction it would be time for me to take another pill."
ENJOYED HER TRIP.
The London Times tells of an old Irish countrywoman, going
to Dublin by train, who stepped into a first-class car and made
herself comfortable. Just before the train started, the con-
ductor passed along, and, noticing the woman and her big basket,
"Are you first-class, my good woman?"
"Indade I am, thank you," she smilingly replied; "and how
do yez feel yourself this marnin'?"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 313
OF THE SAME MIND.
It is said that amusing situations sometimes arise on a certain
railway line in Montana because of the different ways people have
of pronouncing the name of the station known as "Euralia." One
writer says that a conductor, on an approaching train, opened
the forward door and called out in loud tones that sounded thus :
"You're a liar ! You're a liar !"
Then, before the passengers had recovered from the shock,
the brakeman opened the rear door, and shouted what sounded
"You really are ! You really are !"
One of the railroad stations in Texas is about a mile from
the business part of town. One night a tired traveling-man said
to the negro who was driving him to the hotel :
"Old man, why did they put this depot so far from town?"
The driver slowly scratched his head, as he replied:
"Well, boss, I s'pose dey done dat so as to hab de depot as
near as dey could to de railroad."
A tedious narrator was telling some friends about his recent
trip to Switzerland. Said he:
"There I stood, gentlemen, with the abyss yawning before me."
"Pardon me," said one of his listeners, "but was that abyss
yawning before you got there?"
NO PARTICULAR HURRY.
"Next stop is yo' station," said the Pullman porter. "Shall
I brush yo' off now."
"No," replied the passenger ; "when the train stops, I'll step
314 WIT AND HUMOR
FEARED TO TAKE CHANCES.
A woman and her daughter were at sea during a storm. After
a silence of some time, the mother asked :
"Are you seasick, dear?"
"No, I think not, but I'd hate to yawn."
HAD HIS BEARINGS.
A little boy who had to be on the train overnight slept in an
upper berth. Once he awakened and sat up.
"Do you know where you are, Bobby?" his mother asked.
"Course I do. I'm in the top drawer."
SOUNDED LIKE IT.
"How long does the train stop at Winston?" inquired a
woman passenger of the conductor.
"Just four minutes, lady — from two to two to two-two."
The woman turned to her companion, and said:
"I wonder if he thinks he's the whistle on the engine?"
TO AVOID ANXIETY.
In the small hours of the morning the suburbanite got off the
delayed train at the home station. Going to the telegraph office,
he sent this message:
"Will not be at my office to-day. Am not home yesterday yet."
IN GOOD SHAPE NOW.
A stranded actress was obliged to put up at a country hotel.
She glanced, frowningly, about the office, signed the register, and
took the brass key from the proprietress, with the petulant ques-
"Is there water in my room?"
"Why, there was, but we had the roof fixed just a day or
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 3T5
"HAPPY ON THE WAY."
"I wish we were there. This car is getting close."
"Yes; and it will get closer as we get nearer."
"Why are we so late, Mr. Conductor?"
"Well, madam, you see, the train in front was behind, and
this one was behind before besides,"
316 WIT AND HUMOR
Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt in the despatches*—'
AS EDITORS EXPRESS IT.
To print a kiss upon her lips
He thought the time was ripe;
But when he went to press she said:
"I do not like your type." — Boston Transcript
A kiss he printed on her lips,
And she made this oration :
"Please, please continue doing that —
It boosts my circulation !" — New York Sun,
A kiss he printed on her lips —
A soft, a sweet caress;
And this is what she whispered low:
"Don't let them stop the press."
—Brook field Gazette,
IN NEED OF REPAIRS.
To kill, in composing-room language, means to slaughter
something that has been put in type. One newspaper received the
following instructions by wire:
"Kill 'Man Fatally Hurt/ in trolley wreck; not yet dead."
The copy-reader at once wrote the following note for the
"Hold 'Man Fatally Hurt' for new head and additions."
FOUR WORDS IN ONE.
There is a word in the English language, the first two letters
of which signify a male, the first three a female, the first four
a great man, and the whole, a great woman. The word is
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 3117
WHAT ONE LETTER WILL DO.
A Chicago paper reported that the propeller Alaska was leav-
ing port with a cargo of forty thousand bushels of cats.
A Buffalo paper, in describing the scene when Roosevelt took
the oath of office as President, said it was one never to be for-
gotten, when Roosevelt, before the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court and a few witnesses, took his simple bath.
WHY HE RESENTED.
At a wedding the bride was Miss Jane Helper and the bride-
groom was Newton Lord. The bridegroom, however, was
very angry when he saw in the local paper an account of their
wedding, headed in the usual way: "Lord — Helper."
PERHAPS TO SEE IDAHO.
Dear Luke : — When Arkansaw Delaware her New Jersey, I'll
bet he couldn't keep his Iowa. And, by the way, where has
Oregon ?— Joe.
318 WIT AND HUMOR
Joke freely with the monkey, but don't play with his tail. — Haytian
"Can I interest you in an attachment for your typewriter?"
asked the agent, as he entered the office.
"No chance," replied Robbins. "I'm still paying alimony on
the strength of the attachment I had for my last typewriter."
SURE OF ONE THING.
"Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath," said a kind-
hearted man to another, who was scolding his son in a most
"Never trouble yourself about that," retorted the angry par-
ent; "I'll not; but what I'm going to do is to let my wrath
descend upon the son before he goes to bed to-night."
THE ONE HE HEEDED.
Little Tommy wanted a birthday party, to which his mother
consented, provided he would ask his little friend Tommy. The
boys had been having trouble, but, rather than not have the
party, Harry promised his mother to invite him, anyway. On
the evening of the party, however, when all of the other small
guests had arrived, the mother noted his absence, and, becoming
suspicious, sought her son.
"Harry," she said, "did you invite Tommy?"
"And did he say he would not come?"
"No. I invited him, all right, but I dared him to come,"
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 319
"Nigger," warned one, "don't mess wid me, 'kase, when yo'
do, yo' shuah is flirtin' wid de hearse."
"Don't pesticate me, nigger," replied the other, shaking his
fist. "Don't fo'ce me to press dis upon yo,' 'kase, if I does, I'll
hit yo' so ha'd I'll separate yo' from amazin' grace to a floatin'
"If yo' mess wid me, nigger," came back the first, showing the
full whites of his eyes, I'll jes' make one pass, an' dere'll be a
man pattin' yo' in de face wid a spade to-morrow mo'nin'."
MIGHT HAVE BEEN WORSE.
An eminent scientist was giving a lecture, during which he
said the sun was gradually losing its heat, and that in seventy
million years all beneficent effects from it would be lost.
"Pardon me," said a man in the audience, nervously, "how
long did you say it would be before this terrible calamity would
"Why, about seventy million years," repeated the scientist.
"Thank heaven !" exclaimed the questioner, with a sigh of
relief. "I thought you said seven million."
320 WIT AND HUMOR
"What is frenzied finance, pa?"
"Financing your friends, I guess."
"Did you tell the doctor what you had?"
"No; he just took it."
Barber: "Do you mind shutting your mouth?"
Customer: "Not if you shut yours."
Willie: "Pa, when has a man got horse sense?"
Father: "When he can say nay."
Howard: "Will you lend me your mug to shave?"
Louis : "Go on, now ! Shave your own mug !"
"Does your mother object to kissing?"
"Not if you don't try to kiss her."
"Have you read 'Freckles' ?"
"Goodness, no! Mine are light brown. Can't you see?"
City Boarder: "You hatch your own chickens, I suppose?"
Farmer: "No, we alius let the hens do that."
"What kind of ships do they have dog-watches on?"
"Why, barks, I suppose."
"What is Mrs. Hampton taking for the kleptomania?"
"Most anything she can get her hands on, they say."
Father: "Weren't you out after eleven last night?"
Son : "No, father, not near that bad. I was only after one.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 321
Professor: "What is a vacuum?"
Student : "I can't explain it, but I have it in my head."
"So you have fired Kellems — slow in everything, is he?"
"No, not everything. He gets tired quick enough."
"Have you forgotten us, Mr. Waiter?"
"Oh, no, sir. You're the two soft-boiled eggs."
"Why didn't you laugh at the boss' joke this afternoon?"
"Don't have to. I'm quittin' next Saturday."
"Did your watch stop when it dropped on the floor?"
"Sure! Did you think it would go through?"
"Eliza, what fo' yo' buy dat udder box ob shoe-blackin' ?"
"G'wan ! Dat ain't shoe-blackin'. Dat's mah massage cream."
"Jane, how is it I saw you treat your friends to my cake?"
"I can't tell, mum. I thought I covered the keyhole."
Stranger (to farmer's son) : "Does the cow give much milk?"
"No, she don't give none. We have to take it away from her."
"You say the man in the gray suit never treats any one well?"
"Yes; they must be sick, first. You see, he's a doctor."
"Are the Smiths taking in boarders?"
"Yes, and some of them have found it out already."
She: "What beautiful flowers! Why, isn't there still a little.
dew on them?"
He (blushing furiously) : "Yes, but I'll pay it before long."
Friend: "Is it true that your son is half-back on the football
Father: "Yes; and a long way back on his studies."
322 WIT AND HUMOR
Son: "Do you suppose I have enough lumber to finish this
Father : "Of course you have. Use your head."
Judge (in divorce case) : "Didn't you take your wife for
better or for worse?"
"Yes, so I did. But she's a lot worse than I took her for."
"I hear they have stopped sending mail to Washington. I
wonder why it is?"
"Because he's dead, they say."
"Why do you come to me again for help? Haven't you any
"Yes; that's the reason I come to you."
"Wonder why Steve has quit going with the lady clerk at
the post-office ?"
"They say she looks upon him as second-class male matter."
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 323
Folly, as she flies, should be swatted.
Golden rule for beauty: Use plenty of gold.
"He who does not look before finds himself behind."
Many a case of love at first sight is due to dim lights.
People who wander in their minds can't stray very far.
Poor zebra ! He must wear stripes the rest of his life.
A clock strikes, and goes on working, but a man doesn't.
"Don't be satisfied to pay as you go. Save enough to get
The more dough a baker kneads, the smaller his financial
"The more praise a man bestows upon himself, the wiser he
"Too much religion will destroy a man's talents as a horse-
Many a man has hatched out a scheme by having his mind
set on it.
It isn't enough to get a steady job. The fellow himself must
"The devil rejoices more in one hypocrite than in ninety-nine
Hypocrites? Lot's of them. See that you keep the number
down to one less.
Advertisement of a balloon company : "Better buy shares now.
They may go up."
"What's in a name," asks the Nashville Tennesseean, "when
Christian County, Kentucky, goes wet, and Bourbon County
324 WIT AND HUMOR
"I never bluff about my goods," said the umbrella dealer; "I
always put up or shut up."
Medical Student's Ambition: To put "Dr." before his own
name, and after the names of others.
Extract from Sentimental Letter: "Last night I sat in a boat
on Lake Erie, drinking it all in."
"Richleigh seems very proud of his family tree — says he can
trace his ancestry for many degenerations."
Mrs. Hicks (speaking of her son, just home from college) :
"Yes, he speaks several languages very flippantly."
"Elocution," wrote a schoolboy, "is the way people are put to
death in some parts of the United States."
The Boston Transcript says men are like tea — their real
strength isn't drawn out until they get into hot water.
Vermont Schoolboy: "The people who lived on the earth be-
fore it was inhabited were a very low order of savages."
Little City Girl (in the country, watching cows chewing their
cud) : "Grandpa, do you have to buy gum for all the cows?"
A traveling salesman received this message from his wife,
while on the road : "Twins arrived last night. More by mail."
Some persons are so stingy that if you ask them to sing "Old
Hundred," they say they like "Ninety and Nine" much better.
It is said that A. Ward once remarked about the well-known
Missouri product: "It's a poor mule that won't work both ways."
From a Country Weekly : "Watermelons are getting so plenti-
ful that farmers are feeding them to hogs. We had several this
Pat (writing back to Ireland) : "America is the land of oppor-
tunity. Here you can get a five-dollar money-order for three
The boy who wished he was like a postage-stamp, so he
couldn't be licked but once, didn't want to be like it in having
to be punched in the face.
FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS 325
The bank president, a very practical man, described the miss-
ing cashier thus : "He was nearly six feet tall and $6,000 short."
"Extravagance," said Goldstein, "may be one thing for one
person and another thing for another. For instance, a man
with a beard should never wear a necktie."
Young lady, if your mother sees that one side of the nose of
the young man who has been calling on you is powdered, and
that one side of your nose isn't, she knows what has happened,
and there's no use in you trying to explain it away.
Note — The figures indicate the page and the order of the
story. For instance, "Aviation, 188-2," refers to the second story
on page 188.
Absentmindedness, 27-1, 28-5,
29-3, 44-3, 45-1, 112-5, 185-1,
190-1, 216-2, 284-2, 293-1.
Abundance, 162-4, 197-4.
Admonition, 83-3, 214-3.
Advertising, 38-4, 75-2, 136-3,
Advice, 84-1, 142-1, 185-4, 252-3.
Ambiguity, 40-3, 43-4, 46-3,
123-3, 180-3, 197-2, 221-2,
Ambition, 28-1, 96-4, 250-2.
Ancestry, 29-2, 262-3, 302-1.
Anniversary, 120-2, 223-3.
Answers, 166-1, 178-3, 303-2.
Anticipation, 58-1, 69-2, 302-1.
Appreciation, 115-2, 231-1.
Art, 127-2, 208-2, 208-3.
Astronomy, 178-4, 319-2.
Aviation, 188-2, 206-1.
Babyhood, 46-1, 64-3, 144-4,
162-3, 174-2, 193-2, 211-1,
Bargaining, 122-3, 148-1.
Bashfulness, 43-2, 47-1, 152-1,
Bequests, 250-3, 303-1, 307-1.
Birds, 244-1, 272-3.
Blundering, 61-2, 189-2, 284-3.
Boarders, 101-1, 260-1.
Boasting, 38-2, 56-4, 142-4,
197-1, 238-4, 251-4.
Boston, 262-2, 276-3.
Brains, 92-5, 268-2.
Brogue, 285-3, 288-3.
Bryan, Wm. J., 134-3.
Burglary, 132-1, 291-1.
Business, 18-1, 35-1, 70-3, 161-1,
Characteristic, 196-4, 199-1.
Chinese, 249-3, 308-3.
Circus, 25-1, 173-1, 236-3, 270-4.
City Life, 168-3, 176-1.
Clerking, 224-3, 309-4.
Coincidence, 26-1, 33-3, 136-1.
Collection, 57-5, 65-4, 66-1,
College, 16-2, 242-2, 247-2, 261-1.
Compliment, 87-1, 88-1, 221-1.
Conceit, 59-5, 232-3.
Confession, 42-3, 45-3, 72-1,
Conformity, 57-1, 58-2, 172-3,
Conscientiousness, 17-3, 150-3,
Contempt, 29-1, 85-2.
Country Life, 25-3, 34-2, 63-1,
100-1, 106-3, 158-3, 159-2,
191-4, 195-4, 202-1, 205-4,
215-2, 229-1, 314-5.
Courage, 91-4, 119-2, 243-2.
Court, 67-2, 71-4.
Courtship, 210-1, 218-3, 232-2.
Cranks, 97-1, 177-3.
Culinary, 154-1, 155-2, 155-3.
Curiosity, 37-1, 54-2, 117-4.
Custom, 43-1, 152-3.
Deafness, 192-1, 192-2, 219-3.
Deception, 38-3, 286-2.
Decoy, 111-1, 116-3, 307-3.
Degrees, 57-2, 103-1
Delay, 269-4, 314-4.
Deluge, 58-4, 160-2, 301-1.
Description, 128-2, 140-3.
Detectives, 62-1, 233-2.
Diagnosis, 141-3, 182-1, 184-1.
Difference, 57-3, 77-4, 293-2.
Disappointment, 41-1, 113-4,
133-2, 134-2, 140-2, 145-4.
Diplomacy, 50-1, 92-3.
Dixie-land, 88-2, 168-2, 228-3.
Dodging, 20-2, 279-1.
Dreams, 92-1, 305-1.
Fxonomy, 101-2, 154-3, 221-3.
Editorial, 139-1, 169-2, 246-1,
Education, 157-3, 207-1.
Effrontery, 105-2, 135-3.
Egotism, 74-1, 133-1, 165-2,
Evidence, 119-4, 187-5.
Exaggeration, 128-4, 164-2.
Examination, 267-1, 270-5, 272-5.
Example, 90-4, 96-2.
Expectation, 95-2, 109-3.
Experience, 23-3, 59-4, 183-2,
Extravagance, 32-2, 308-1.
Fables, 78-3, 237-2, 308-2.
Familiarity, 118-3, 192-4.
Fate, 82-1, 115-1.
Flattery, 42-2, 101-5, 309-3.
French, 125-2, 177-1, 224-4.
Fruitless, 105-3, 107-4, 151-1.
Golden Rule, 291-2.
Gossip, 21-1, 103-2, 165-1.
Grammatical, 45-2, 211-3, 247-1,
Gratitude, 22-3, 23-1, 114-2,
Greed, 35-3, 53-2, 57-5, 99-3,
218-2, 239-3, 281-2.
Harmony, 73-1, 90-1, 153-1.
Helpmate, 114-1, 117-1.
Henpecked, 37-3, 216-3.
Heroism, 171-1, 233-3.
History, 270-5, 269-1.
Hits, 24-2, 25-4, 27-2, 31-2.
Home Life, 116-1, 129-1, 275-3.
Humiliation, 134-3, 139-3, 219-4.
Hunger, 238-3, 285-3.
Hypocrisy, 225-4, 226-1.
Ignorance, 16-2, 90-2, 146-2,
172-1, 178-2, 192-3, 196-2.
Illustration, 64-2, 85-3.
Imagination, 44-2, 288-2.
Imitation, 17-2, 35-2, 181-3,
190-3, 227-1, 314-3.
Impossibility, 186-1, 189-1.
Inconsistency, 79-1, 123-2, 211-3.
Independence, 193-3, 199-3.
Innocent, 21-2, 68-3, 174-1.
Innovation, 156-1, 215-2.
Inquisitiveness, 41-4, 63-2, 80-5,
Insanity, 92-2, 233-4, 285-4.
Insinuation, 62-2, 85-1, 89-1,
98-1, 99-2, 181-2, 196-1, 3C2-2.
Insurance, 145-3, 190-1, 310-1.
Interruption, 96-3, 152-2.
Irish Life, 19-1, 28-3, 29-2, 37-2,
40-2, 70-1, 71-2, 76-3, 79-3,
80-2, 87-2, 95-1, 103-1, 131-3,
139-4, 143-4, 157-1, 163-1,
168-4, 170-3, 178-4, 191-1.
203-2, 210-3, 213-2, 214-5,
217-3, 223-1, 224-2, 231-2,
239-1, 249-2, 251-1, 251-3,
252-2, 262-4, 276-2, 297-1,
Jurymen, 86-1, 135-1.
Lawyers, 82-3, 83-1, 293-3.
Laziness, 15-1, 22-2, 34-2, 69-1,
Leadership, 39-2, 190-2.
Lecturing, 68-2, 143-2.
Legality, 278-1, 306-1.
Life-preservers, 245-1, 261-4.
Limitations, 60-1, 138-2, 160-4,
Literary, 44-1, 134-1, 163-4,
164-3, 231-3, 297-3.
Love, 27-3, 90-5.
Marriage, 78-4, 93-3.
Matched, 101-3, 185-2, 310-2.
Memory, 18-4. 50-2, 138-2, 255-3.
Misjudging, 44-2, 144-3.
Mistaken, 42-1, 112-3, 119-1,
Mountaineers, 30-1, 158-1.
Nativity, 88-2, 131-2.
Nature, 61-3, 161-3, 201-1, 207-3.
Navigation, 266-2, 314-1.
Negro Life, 15-2, 19-2, 23-2, 69-3,
72-3, 77-3, 79-4, 82-1, 82-2,
113-1, 119-3, 138-1, 141-2,
146-4, 147-3, 149-1, 153-3,
156-1, 165-3, 168-1, 170-1,
176-3, 184-2, 198-1, 199-2,
206-1, 226-2, 227-3, 228-3,
232-1, 233-1, 280-1, 282-2,
291-3, 292-3, 293-4, 298-1,
Neighbors, 41-3, 231-4.
Nicknames, 26-3, 97-2.
Obedience, 19-4, 37-3, 135-1,
Obstinacy, 86-1, 200-1.
Occupation, 67-1, 249-1.
Opportunity, 97-4, 110-2.
Parables, 175-3, 204-2.
Peddlers, 51-3, 101-4, 257-1.
Perplexity, 60-2, 143-5.
Persistency, 64-1, 208-1.
Pessimism, 51-1, 56-2, 182-3.
Poetical, 209-2, 297-5.
Policeman, 19-3, 252-1.
Political, 109-5, 149-2, 205-3,
Post-office, 247-3, 254-1.
Preachers, 72-2, 139-2, 165-1,
Precaution, 147-1, 153-2, 158-1,
Preference, 49-4, 58-3, 94-2,
Preparation, 25-2, 142-2, 214-4,
Prescription, 83-2, 183-3, 207-2.
Prison Life, 17-4, 44-2, 53-1.
Pronunciation, 206-2, 313-1.
Proof, 30-2, 37-2, 75-3, 94-4.
Proposing, 39-1, 302-2.
Punishment, 204-2, 215-3, 237-1,
Pursuit, 209-3, 211-5.
Photography, 204-4, 239-5, 240-1.
Quarreling, 110-5, 146-1, 216-4,
230-2, 256-1, 263-2.
Questions, 158-2, 306-1.
Quotations, 25-4, 33-1, 111-5,
163-3, 208-1, 211-5.
Rain, 16-3, 143-2.
Rebuke, 106-3, 111-2, 140-1.
Reciprocal, 50-4, 87-3, 115-3,
Reciprocity, 98-3, 99-4, 130-2.
Relatives, 113-3, 119-1, 239-4.
Reminder, 145-1, 204-3.
Reporting, 17-4, 51-2, 127-3,
290-2, 294-3, 296-3.
Restaurant, 245-2, 256-4, 260-2,
Restraint, 129-2, 131-4.
Reversible, 47-2, 69-1, 77-2,
131-1, 132-3, 132-4, 151-2,
Riddles, 243-3, 311-3.
Rivalry, 130-1, 229-1.
Royalty, 225-2, 252-4.
Safety First, 50-3, 104-1, 146-3,
177-2, 187-3, 195-1.
Sagacity, 102-1, 102-3.
Sailing, 245-1, 260-3.
Satisfaction, 51-3, 186-2, 201-3.
Scheming, 16-1, 33-2, 34-3, 102-2.
Self-control, 54-4, 136-2, 264-2.
Selfishness, 114-4, 128-1, 144-1,
Servants, 120-3, 172-2, 215-1,
Shakespeare, 162-4, 188-1, 215-4.
Shopping, 174-1, 177-1, 186-3,
277-4, 296-1, 306-3.
Side-stepping, 100-2, 218-3.
Sight-seeing, 287-2, 292-1.
Singing, 112-2, 197-4.
Soldier Life, 24-1, 28-4, 40-1,
53-3, 159-3, 224-1, 303-3,
Speed, 19-3, 24-3.
Sport, 204-1, 247-1.
Statues, 162-2, 228-2.
Street-car Talk, 18-3, 20-1,
107-2, 167-1, 175-1, 181-1,
191-3, 209-2, 226-2, 227-1,
246-2, 253-1, 258-1, 265-1.
Stupidity, 40-1, 43-3, 96-1, 105-1,
117-2, 120-1, 160-3, 161-2,
Stinginess, 118-1, 144-5, 281-3.
Stuttering, 213-1, 309-2.
Substitution, 20-3, 20-4, 54-1.
Suffragette, 99-1, 135-2.
Superfluity, 55-1, 174-3.
Suspicion, 147-4, 234-2, 294-2.
Sympathy, 91-3, 115-5.
Tact, 36-1, 66-2.
Technical, 80-3, 80-4.
Telegrams, 94-1, 157-2, 214-2,
Telephoning, 156-2, 203-1.
Temperance, 49-1, 53-4, 149-3,
Testimony, 79-2, 81-1, 105-1.
Theatrical, 71-1, 106-1, 250-1.
Time, 129-1, 283-2.
Timely, 184-3, 187-1.
Timepiece, 68-1, 222-1, 240-5.
Tonsorial, 68-4, 130-3, 219-2,
Training, 46-1, 90-3, 128-5,
Tramp Life, 18-2, 54-3, 73-2,
76-1, 123-1, 170-2, 177-2,
Transfer, 202-2, 253-1.
Trapped, 97-3, 119-4.
Traveling, 103-3, 161-3, 162-1,
163-2, 180-4, 224-4, 259-4,
Trickery, 266-1, 288-1, 305-2.
Truthfulness, 17-3, 39-4, 80-1,
114-3, 177-4, 246-1.
Typographical, 44-1, 47-3.
Uncertainty, 49-3, 53-1, 292-4.
Usefulness, 125-3, 127-1, 143-1.
Viewpoint, 57-4, 59-4, 184-2.
Visiting, 29-4, 67-3, 181-4.
Warning, 39-5, 112-1, 214-1.
Wealth, 166-1, 173-2.
W r eather, 32-1, 267-3, 271-5,
Weddings, 43-1, 91-5, 216-1,
Will-power, 117-3, 155-1.
Wilson, Woodrow, 107-4.
Wisdom, 251-2, 269-3, 301-2,
Wishing, 30-3, 218-1.
Woman, 40-5, 66-3.
Worry, 122-2, 258-2, 310-3.
Worthless, 28-2, 28-3.